Home' Greymouth Star : February 17th 2017 Contents P2
his ideas ignored
150 YEARS SINCE 1866
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017
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West Coast’s big week
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Illegal scrub fire
at No Name
Three Greymouth fire appliances
were called to extinguish a scrub
fire which had got out of control
at No Name Road, near Woods
Creek, about 4pm yesterday. The
unpermitted burn-off was brought
under control with the brigade
pumping water from the nearby
New River. “ The fire had spread
over an acre and was beginning to
be fanned by winds, but there was
no immediate threat to houses,” fire
chief Lee Swinburn said.
The Ministry of Health has settled
on how the $77.8 million for Grey
Base Hospital will be funded and
says there will no change to the
West Coast District Health Board’s
financial position. The DHB rather
than the Government will be paying
for the new building. Cabinet has
agreed to a process whereby DHB
debt will be transferred to equity,
effective from this week. DHBs will
receive additional revenue to balance
the extra costs of capital charge
on equity compared to debt. There
will be no change to the financial
position of the DHB and the
administrative arrangements will be
simplified,” the ministry advised. The
question was raised at the monthly
board meeting last week. A staff
report said the board had drawn
down $14.445m. That loan will be
replaced by an equity injection. Final
interest payable on all term loans of
about $147,294 was to be paid earlier
this week. Capital charges from now
on will be at the current rate of 7%.
An additional $438,696 in expenses
is forecast this financial year, but the
board expects to receive more cash
funding to help with that.
We have to hold our hands up and
admit that no one is faultless when
it comes to typos, sadly though
some are more unfortunate than
others. Up step the North Wales
Weekly News, where an error on a
classified advert has got everyone
chuckling to themselves. The
mistake was on a listing for classes
for people in Colwyn Bay with an
interest in drawing and painting.
Sadly, the ad, which was meant to
be promoting ‘Art Classes’, went
in as ‘Fart Classes’. The paper later
admitted the error and has since
pointed out it was not down to the
organisers of the classes. As for the
advert, it is not known if anyone has
contacted the group with an interest
in flatulence. — Metro
Cloudy with a few showers
Town square cost hits $1.8m
The contract for building the
Greymouth town square has gone to
a Timaru-based company — and the
cost has gone up a further $125,000 to
Work will start shortly on the first
stage of the contract, the groundworks,
with the second stage for the canopy,
and the third for the likes of furniture.
A potential sponsor has come for ward
with an offer of up to $120,000.
The tenders were considered in
private at the council meeting on
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said today
the main contract for $1.181m had
gone to Paul Smith Earthmoving.
The company has been working on
the new Greymouth Hospital and is
moving into contracting work on the
The budget for the town square was
$1.7m, and with the first contract let
the council had allowed for a good
contingency, allowing an additional
$125,000. As well as the potential
sponsor, $60,000 was left in the major
district initiative funding the council
had received from Development West
Asked if he was disappointed with
the price increase, Mr Kokshoorn said
it was “par for the course” but they had
not compromised on quality for the
“This is what has to happen to take
Greymouth from an old coalmining
town, to a more modern town that will
get tourists to stop rather than passing
through. This is the start of the town
Mr Kokshoorn said Millennium
Hotels had already committed to
upgrading Kingsgate Hotel, in
recognition of the council investment
in the adjacent town square. Mawhera
Incorporation was also planning its
own enhancements around the square.
The council decision was not
unanimous, with Crs Cliff Sandrey,
Allan Gibson and Anton Becker
voting against the extra funding.
Old-time grader spruced up
A draft submission on behalf
of the four West Coast councils
says the existing
must continue to be present in
The Local Government
Commission is investigating if
there are too many councils for
the small population, and if there
should be one unitary council or
other amalgamations. The review
was prompted by a petition signed
by 600 West Coast ratepayers.
The commission has called for
alternative submissions, closing
on March 15.
A report to the Buller District
Council next week by chief
executive Andy Gowland-
Douglas says the commission
has indicated it will look more
favourably on applications that
show the councils are “on the
same page”, prepared to challenge
the status quo and work more
She said the mayors have
done just that and joined with
Development West Coast to
prepare a draft submission.
The draft says the region “may
once have been parochial”, but
that was no longer the case.
In 2015, the four councils signed
a memorandum of understanding
focused on regional efficiency.
They were of the “firm belief ”
the status quo was best with
enhanced shared ser vices.
The councils’ draft proposes:
A district plan across the
region to make consents more
Unified regulatory ser vices
from consent process and
building consent work.
A shared pool of expertise,
including human resources, risk
management, iwi engagement,
procurement, health and safety
Collaborative IT systems.
The councils are already installing
a shared phone system which
between councils easier. A single
emergency management website
will go live soon, and video
conferencing used to reduce the
need for travel.
The submission says the four
councils want a region with
communities which are “socially
better off, well represented and
Investors would find interacting
with the councils straightforward.
“ To be successful as a region
we need to be present in our
The public can also put for ward
alternative applications and
proposals to the commission and
must be filed by March 15.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Jack Flood, left, George Gardner and Barrie Brown made the most of the fine weather on Wednesday to apply a fresh coat of paint to the old grader mounted
outside the Greymouth museum, Histor y House. The Grey County Council purchased the Standard Austin Grader from Messrs Booth McDonald and Co Ltd in
Christchurch in 1920 for £225. Westroads refurbished the deteriorated metal parts, Gray Brothers sandblasted it and then gave it a protective undercoat, and the
volunteers have applied a protective top coat. The recently painted Kershaw pump (ex-Mawhera Dredge) now has a matching piece at the front of the museum.
The boss of Pike River Mine at the
time of the 2010 disaster has again
escaped his day in court.
Peter Whittall originally faced
12 charges from health and safety
watchdog Work Safe NZ, but the
charges were dropped and a deal was
cut for Whittall to pay $3.41 million
to the victims’ families and two
Two family members, Anna Osborne
and Sonya Rockhouse, applied to the
High Court for a judicial review and
lost the case.
They appealed and yesterday
the Court of Appeal released its
judgment dismissing the case, saying
the decision to drop the charges was
The court says Work Safe was
entitled to consider a reparation
payment as one factor in deciding
whether or not to pursue prosecution
further. It says even if the decision had
been shown to be unlawful, it would
not have been set aside as payment
had already been made to the families.
The Court of Appeal decision is
being blasted as “cheque book justice’’
by the CTU.
President Richard Wagstaff said
victims and families were left out in
the cold by the ruling.
“ Work Safe allowed an unrepentant
defendant to get his insurer to make a
payment to the victims, in return for
Work Safe dropping the charge.
“The Court of Appeal did not
think the victims ought to have been
consulted before the deal was struck.
“ We now need to consider what
options remain. One thing is for sure
the 29 men that were killed on
the 19th November 2010 are still no
closer to justice,’’ Mr Wagstaff said.
Further stor y, p2.
Pike families fail to force Whittall prosecution
The Grey District Council is running
tests to trace the contamination that has
put the Runanga, Rapahoe, D unollie and
Coal Creek water supply on a ‘boil water’
The notice was issued yesterday and
cannot be lifted until there are three clear
The Grey District Council said the
warning would remain in place until at
Utilities engineer Kurtis Perrin-Smith
said they were a little surprised e.coli
(faecal contamination) had been detected,
as the floods had gone and the weather
improved. Extra testing had been done
during the floods, but no problems were
Staff were doing further tests today to
pinpoint the source.
Mr Perrin-Smith said so far there were
no reports of anyone getting sick.
Meanwhile, the Westland District
Council says it has been working hard to
trace the source of contamination in the
Kumara water supply.
The town remains on a ‘boil water’
notice, but a similar notice for Arahura
has now been lifted.
Council corporate planner Karen Jury
said the council had been vigorously
investigating what was contaminating
the Kumara supply.
Ongoing testing showed a low e.coli
contamination level and this made it
more difficult to discern the cause.
Kumara water was sourced from what
was technically termed an “unknown
catchment area” or not a single source of
supply, so the council could not isolate
and/or contain the source.
A wide ground area had been traversed
and effects of recent land use changes and
weather events looked into.
The addition of chlorine in the
drinking-water was to disinfect the
water and eliminate the risk of further
contamination. Once it had disinfected
the water the ‘boil water’ notice would be
lifted, Ms Jury said.
Contamination puts Runanga on ‘boil water’ notice
Four councils resist mergers
12 Herbert St, Greymouth
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