Home' Greymouth Star : November 21st 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2015
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Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
St Patrick’s through 150 years
Camper van plunges
A couple of local drivers had
a close call when they collided
on the one-way bridge at Deep
Creek, near Moana, late yesterday
afternoon. Moana Volunteer Fire
Brigade deputy fire chief David
Larkin said two cars collided
head-on after failing to give way.
Neither of the single occupants in
each car were seriously injured, save
for a bit of bruising, Mr Larkin
said. Meanwhile three French
women were “very lucky” after their
camper van plunged down a bank
towards the sea, on State highway 6
at 13 Mile about 5.30pm yesterday.
Rununga Volunteer Fire Brigade
station officer Kelvin Dobson, said
the three occupants of the camper
had managed to scramble out of
the vehicle and back up the bank
by the time the brigade arrived,
and they were not injured. Mr
Dobson said they were very lucky
their vehicle did not go a few more
metres down the bank towards the
sea. Weather and road conditions
might have been a contributor
to the crash, which happened on
a “slight bend ” in the road, he
said. Meanwhile, the West Coast
NZCC Rescue Helicopter was
called to Westport about 1am to
assist with a medical transfer.
jumps by $31m
Direct expenditure by domestic
and international visitors to the
West Coast has increased by
$31 million to $348 million in the
year to March, new figures show.
The Grey district saw an increase of
$4m, and Westland $27m; Buller
figures were static. A big part of the
growth was in the Chinese market.
A crackdown on the bizarre
practice of squeezing one’s scrotum
to gain an adrenaline boost will be
introduced at the Rio Paralympics.
Known as ‘ boosting’, it is common
habit of athletes — particularly
— looking to gain an advantage,
but is in fact deadly. The practice,
banned for over a decade, involves
sitting on the scrotum or blocking
off catheters to fill the bladder
before tapping on them, which
triggers ‘autonomic dysreflexia’
in the brain. This allows a power
boost and greater oxygen flow —
but also increases your heart rate
and and blood pressure, posing a
major risk of stroke or heart attack,
particularly to those with spinal
Whitebait sales ban called for
One of New Zealand ’s leading
whitebait specialists has debunked
claims by academics that whitebait
is a threatened species, with calls to
close down commercial fishing.
Massey University researcher
Kyleisha Foote has called on the
Government to stop the commercial
fishing and sale of whitebait, telling
RNZ it was inexcusable that “we
allow a native threatened species to
be commercially har vested and sold
locally and exported ”.
However, senior research fellow
at Canterbury University, Dr Mike
Hickford, originally from Westport,
said yesterday there was “no evidence
at all” that the fishery was in decline.
“No one has the data and no data
has been collected to prove this,” Dr
Hickford said. “ This subject comes
around about this time every year —
it is headline grabbing.”
However, he agreed it was time
to review the whitebait fishing
regulations to find ways to manage
the season better.
“Banning the commercial fishing
and sale of whitebait would not be
the first thing I would look at. There
are many other things, including the
method of whitebaiting, the season,
how people fish, maybe introducing
whitebaiters buying permits to
fish, which would be more effective
in looking after the fishery,” Dr
Association president Des McEnaney
said the call for a commercial ban was
“ill-founded and counterproductive”.
He said the call was based on
information from a 2013 paper
produced by the Department of
Conser vation, which contained a
list of species which were presented
as under threat but for which there
was no supporting data to back the
“Statements in this document
raise key questions. For example, the
data deficient list is likely to include
many of the most threatened species
in New Zealand. How can such an
assumption be made when there is a
lack of data to support it?”
Mr McEnaney said there was a
serious lack of information about
the whitebait fishery, particularly
the quantity and variety of juveniles
arriving in rivers to spawn.
Commercial whitebaiters were a
“small minority ” and even then it was
difficult to identify just who could be
“No one has any idea what
percentage they actually take, but
without them the supply of this
popular delicacy would decline and
the price would escalate, and this
would also promote a blackmarket
that would be impossible to contain.”
A spokesman for Conser vation
Minister Maggie Barry said there
were no plans to change the Coast
Whitebait Fishing Regulations.
New generation celebrates past
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Assisted by senior Greymouth priest Monsignor Gerry O’Connor, far left, and Fathers Denis Nolan and Michael Mahoney, parish priest Fr Peter Costello, at
the altar, begins a Votive Mass of Thanksgiving for John Paul II High School students and St Patrick’s Primary School pupils yesterday to open the 150th
celebration for St Patrick’s Parish, being held this weekend. The Sisters of Mercy and the Marist Brothers, along with many others who have contributed to
Catholic education in Greymouth over the past 150 years, were acknowledged. Fr Costello noted that the young people from both parish schools represented the
future of the parish. More, p6, 7.
Contractors are well into the
$22 million project to straighten
the last truly winding 5km
section of road between the West
Coast and Christchurch.
The Mingha Bluff to Rough
Creek realignment project will
take two years to complete. State
highway 73 is being moved loser
to the railway line and widened.
NZ Transport Agency State
highway manager Colin Knaggs
said contractor Hawkins had
started installing a number of
culverts under the railway line.
Construction of the Mingha
Bluff retaining wall had started,
and the approach to Halpin
Creek was being established
below the level of the existing
Fibre optic cable had also been
relocated, and kiwi sur veys were
conducted prior to all vegetation
removal, with no sign of the birds
At times the road was being
reduced to one lane, as a drilling
rig tested the ground. The
highway would soon be narrowed
to one lane with traffic lights as
work progressed into the existing
road corridor, Mr Knaggs said.
People would need to allow
extra time for the journey.
He said the project should lead
to the most significant safety
improvements on the highway in
more than a decade.
Currently, the road is narrow
at many points and has tight
corners that restrict visibility.
Those tight cur ves will be
removed, dips and hollows
smoothed and there will be a
wider 9m carriageway.
A new retaining wall takes shape at Mingha Bluff, just east of
Arthur’s Pass village.
Maiden voyage looms
A dredge purchased by the
Grey District Council to keep
the Blaketown lagoon clear of silt
should be in the water in about
The council is spending
$192,000 on the Launceston
dredge, from Tasmania, with
an additional $50,000 for
shipping and transport costs to
bring the dredge across from
Rather than using a bucket to
clean out to deepen the lagoon for
fishing boats, the dredge employs
a rotary hoe arm to disturb the
lagoon bed, with mud and water
then sucked up via extendable
piping to allow the material to be
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the
vendor of dredge was expected in
Greymouth in a few weeks to help
oversee the recommissioning, as
part of the sale agreement.
The dredge piping would be able
to extend up to 1.3km and the
idea was to transfer build-up from
the lagoon out into the main Grey
River channel, where it could be
“ We’re about a month away
from putting it into the water,”
Mr Kokshoorn said.
Hospital not built for post-quake care
Officials have given dispensation for the
new Greymouth Hospital to be built at
less than the most rigorous earthquake
standards, despite raising concerns over
how people would be evacuated in the
event of a disaster.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Enterprise report is contained in the
first of the building permit applications,
for the foundations for the $67 million
The attached smaller integrated family
health centre will be built to IL4, the
The report says the family health
centre would be used to triage patients
in the event of a major disaster and
two treatment rooms “could” be used as
theatres for minor operations.
However, the hospital itself would not
have the workforce post-disaster.
Generally, IL3 and IL4 are resilient
enough to be safe, and get people out
after a quake, while IL4 buildings could
then be used in the aftermath of a disaster.
The ministry says people would be
transferred off the West Coast for care
after a major disaster.
The report also shows the ministry has
questioned if the region’s fuel reserves,
which would last days not weeks, would
be enough for medical transfers.
It also says the family health centre
“would not be able to support a high level
of medical emergencies”.
However, the report says the nearby
St John, council chambers and new
recreation centre building would be
built to the highest standard, IL4, and
concludes that the main hospital can be
The permit application for the hospital
foundations, also says a tree protection
plan must be filed for a large pohutukawa
tree on site — between corporate services
and the old nurses hostel site — and
construction work must stay at least 5m
away from it.
The main building will be a piled
concrete slab with a two-way steel frame
structure. The family health centre will be
a timber structure with tensioned sheer
In the main hospital, the north wing
is 50m long, 25m wide and an average
15m high, while the south wing is 60m
long, 33m wide and 13m high. The family
health centre is 14m wide.
The permits, which are being applied
for in stages, are being processed by the
Selwyn District Council. The first stage
of the contract has gone to Fletchers.
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