Home' Greymouth Star : September 30th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Sports groups baulk
at St John price rise
The liquidators of the Railway
Hotel have entered into an
agreement with a potential buyer,
allowing them to reopen the doors
while the sale progresses. The lights
were back on and carpets were
being cleaned this morning. A
man, who confirmed he was now
the manager, declined to comment,
saying the licence was not in place
yet. Liquidator David Vance said a
confidentiality clause restricted what
he could say. However, a conditional
agreement was in place. It would take
weeks, rather than days, for the sale
to go through. “ We’ve entered into
an agreement to allow the person
to operate the hotel. It’s up to that
person to determine how quickly
they can get it up and running.”
Face in mountain
Can you see the face in this
picture, taken in the Southern Alps?
It was photographed by Margaret
McSweeney on September 10 from
the Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge,
just before Bealey, heading west,
and looking across the Waimakariri
River. “ It ’s hard to believe, but this
photo is genuine. It hasn’t been
altered,” intermediary Geoffrey Bell
Bungling raiders have destroyed
an entire building while trying to
rip out an ATM using a digger,
two trucks and a forklift truck —
but still left empty-handed. The
Delph petrol station in the village
of Whittlesey near Peterborough,
Cambridgeshire, was left close
to collapse when two walls were
demolished in the failed raid. Police
believe the gang fled the two-storey
storeroom after being disturbed. —
Rain, some heavy and thundery
A split has widened in Kumara
over controversial plans to spend
$398,000 of the town’s endowment
fund on a Chinese memorial garden,
culminating in a walk-out from a
residents’ meeting last night.
Residents opposed to the spending
plan were heckled and then walked
out of the ‘information meeting’
feeling they had not been allowed to
put for ward their views from the floor.
The meeting, led by a facilitator
engaged by the Kumara Residents
Trust, consisted of powerpoint
presentations about the old Kumara
Borough endowment fund, with
those attending forwarding written
questions on post-it notes to be
answered then by the trust, or later by
the Westland District Council.
Trust chairwoman Fiona Pollard
said 62 were present, which was “a
great turnout ”.
She described it as “an information
meeting” although the format might
not have been what some people were
“It was about providing information
about the endowment fund, how it
was formed ... the council process to
access the fund,” Ms Pollard said.
The trust called the meeting because
there was “a lot of misinformation
and confusion” in the community
about the fund, following “negative”
submissions to the council long-term
plan, in June.
Asked why 23 people had walked
out of the meeting last night, Ms
Pollard said: “I know they wanted to
present something. O ur meeting was
about providing information about
the endowment ... people did put
for ward views, within the format of
Joan McGrath, of Dillmanstown,
said she attended after writing to
Westland Mayor Mike Havill and
getting a reply suggesting she should
attend the meeting.
representatives advised the council
last month they would hold a meeting
“ where residents could have input
into the process around allocation of
endowment fund money ”.
“The ‘meeting’ was a powerpoint
presentation of the Kumara Residents
Trust ’s opinion,” Mrs McGrath said.
“The public was not permitted to
“Those of us who walked out in
protest were clapped out of the hall by
Kumara Residents Trust committee
members. This group is dysfunctional
and is causing trouble in Kumara,”
Mrs McGrath said.
Northern ward councillor Kees van
Beek also attended the meeting and
he said the way the meeting unfolded
“staggered me a bit”.
He would attempt today to broker a
closed-door meeting between the key
parties and the council chief executive.
“There’s obviously two sides —
there’s a bigger divide there than I
anticipated,” Cr van Beek said.
He said Ms Pollard, as trust
chairwoman, was too “glib” in her
responses to concerns from the floor,
where residents might have had a
reasonable expectation to express
“They made it quite clear at the
start that it was an information-only
meeting,” Cr van Beek said.
“I’m a bit disappointed with Fiona in
that she was a bit glib in some of her
answers. I think Fiona is bulldozing
it a bit, and to get a bit of credibility
with those other people, you need to
listen to them.”
While the council had already voted
to give over $398,000 to the Kumara
Residents Trust for the project, the
council needed to take “slightly tighter
control” of the endowment, he said.
The council should be taking a lead
role in the administration of the fund
and how it was spent, which was
partly why he was seeking a meeting
with the chief executive Tanya Winter,
Ms Pollard and a representative of the
Ms Winter had received submissions
from Des McGrath, who had canvassed
140 Kumara residents — including
122 opposed to the fund being handed
to the Kumara Residents Trust — but
there was concern “about the amount
of time to answer the questions,” Cr
van Beek said.
“I think Des McGrath is prepared to
listen and he’s not being listened to.”
Slip closes Otira Gorge
A rock slip that was still falling
around the Otira Gorge rock shelter
this morning and knocked out a
large section of guardrail, was likely
to keep State highway 73 closed for
the rest of the day.
The highway was closed to all
traffic, from Arthur’s Pass to Otira.
About 200 cubic metres of rock fell
on the road.
The New Zealand Transport
Agency said contractors reported
that rocks were still falling and about
100m of road guardrail was missing.
A helicopter inspection was being
organised with geotechnical experts
to assess the situation. They were also
expected to use a monsoon bucket to
sluice loose debris off the cliff face.
Otira Hotel owner Lester
Rowntree said things had been
“dead” after the slip occurred, about
8 o’clock this morning.
He was surprised there was a slip
when the weather had been so good.
“It’s been dry as ... we’ve not had
rain in ages,” Mr Rowntree said.
NZTA journey manager Lee
Wright said there was no detour
available, the other option being for
motorists to take the Lewis Pass
An update was expected at 3pm.
For the latest information go to
www.highwayinfo.govt.nz or phone
0800 4 HIGHWAYS 0800 44 44
49. Also check out the Transport
Agency’s Facebook page
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Debris covers the road on the uphill side of the Otira Gorge rock shelter this morning.
Phil comes in from the cold
Greymouth weather observer Phil
Forrest today marked the end of a
21-year retirement job, which also
brought many an early morning
Mr Forrest took on the daily
recording job in 1994 intending to
give it a few years, but he became
fascinated. He has not missed a day
since, no matter the weather.
Fully exposed to the elements at the
aerodrome, he is well used to taking
readings in the wet (the worst was
January 23, when 149mm of rain fell
in 24 hours), and the cold.
He has never seen snow at the
aerodrome, but has experienced lots of
frosts, and many long, fine spells.
“I’ve had some shocking mornings
when we got the wind and rain,” Mr
Forrest said. But then, only last week
on September 25, he recorded the
top temperature in New Zealand,
20degC. The readings are always
taken at 9am, and the figures fired
off to meteorologists at 9.15am. They
appear in the Greymouth Star daily
will be the last
collected by Mr
He also talks to
in the site, and
visiting the Coast,
who are often
bemused when it
has not rained.
Although he no
longer has to be
in Blaketown by
9am, Mr Forrest
says he has no
time to lie in.
“Every job in
start work at 8am.
I don’t need an
the rainy day
struggles, in wet
weather gear while trying to keep the
paperwork dry, he knows it is the end
of a chapter and he will miss it.
The weather station is fully
automated, but having a person also
take readings adds to the robustness
of the data.
Mr Forrest will have to pop back
tomorrow to collect the final
sunshine figures and temperature
data for today.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Phil Forrest on his last full day recording at the Greymouth weather station.
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