Home' Greymouth Star : February 20th 2017 Contents Summer start to
150 YEARS SINCE 1866
Coal trucks rumble
through Reefton P2
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017
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Water runs clear
Runanga, D unollie, Rapahoe
and Coal Creek residents have the
all-c lear with their drinking-water
after the Grey District Council
lifted the ‘boil water’ notice this
morning. Utilities engineer Kurtis
Perrin-Smith said tests over the
weekend had been clear, after
e-coli contamination was picked
up late last week. Testing had
since showed e.coli was no longer
present. However, the council
was still investigating where the
contamination had come from in
the first place. “ We will be lifting
the ‘boil water’ notice today,” he said
A ticket sold at Coundown
Greymouth won a share of the
second division prize pool in the
Lotto draw on Saturday. The lucky
winner gets $24,510 along with
nine other winners spread around
A Blackball man was caught
drink-driving not once, but twice
at the weekend. West Coast police
prevention sergeant Paul Watson
said the 28-year-old was first
stopped in Revell Street, Hokitika,
on Friday evening. He was subject
to a no-alcohol licence but blew
59mg. He was stopped again at
Kumara Junction the following
morning and this time blew 159mg.
Mostly cloudy, patchy rain
This furry stowaway was spotted
riding around on a rubbish truck
in Washington DC on Friday.
The photo was taken by journalist
Helena B Evich, a reporter for
Politico, who spoke to the driver
of the American Disposal Ser vices
truck to let him know they had
picked up an extra passenger. Police
came to the driver’s aid, helping
catch the animal, which was then
released into nearby Larry Graves
Park. “ We can confirm the raccoon
is unharmed and was removed
safely for all,” a spokeswoman for
American Disposal Ser vices said.
Summer arrives on the Coast — 11 weeks late
After a two and a half month wait
and with just 10 days to go before
autumn, summer has finally arrived
on the West Coast.
Reefton got to 27.5degC yesterday,
and 27degC on Saturday. In fact, it
was so warm the inland town has been
getting heat showers in the afternoon.
Hokitika enjoyed a pleasant 23degC
yesterday, and Greymouth 22degC.
Reefton weather obser ver Tony
Fortune said so far this ‘summer’
he had recorded maximums of just
13degC and even as cold as 11degC
in January and early February. At
times it got close to a frost.
However, this morning it was
10degC in Reefton and the humidity
was the highest it had been all summer.
“It’s muggy — we are just not used
to it,” Mr Fortune laughed.
“I think it will continue as long as
its stays to the east direction, coming
from the tropics. We’ll get summer for
the next 10 days.”
Hokitika weather man Mark
Crompton said the 23degC logged
yesterday was the warmest so far this
“There could be a re-run today of 22
or 23,” Mr Crompton said.
A weakening front would come
through on Wednesday with some
rain south of Hari Hari, and showers
further north, and it would cool down
with a south-west change and a return
to 19 or 20degC days, but that would
be followed by another big high
from later this week heading into the
“ I think we can say summer has
arrived,” Mr Crompton said.
“ We’ve entered a different pattern of
large anti-cyclones crossing the South
Island. It ’s a complete change from
Blaketown couple Christine and
Douglas Banks have been bankrupted
at the end of a decade-long, $1 million
rental dispute with the Grey District
The couple missed a two-week grace
period granted by the court to pay up
over $40,000 of outstanding legal costs
ordered to the council, having been
individually adjudged bankrupt at a
hearing in the High Court on February 3,
with a stay until last Friday to pay the
The payment was not paid and the
bankruptcy took effect from Friday.
Today Mrs Banks declined to say
anything about the outcome.
“I’m not going to comment any further.
It ’s been stressful enough and there’s
been so many things wrong and I’m not
going to put up with it any more,” she
Pretorius said the council had received
confirmation the Banks had been made
bankrupt after they failed to pay up.
“They did not pay the full $92,000 odd
they were supposed to pay,” Mr Pretorius
The bankruptcy came after the council
made an urgent application to the court
to recover unpaid and court-ordered
legal costs by the Banks following several
previous court rulings.
It followed years of wrangling in a
$1m- plus court battle over rent increases
on their old harbour board lease, which
includes the Banks’ leasehold residential
property in Blake Street.
At the hearing on February 3 the
council applied to vary the previous
bankruptcy application to include
the full court-awarded legal debt plus
This followed the council agreeing at
an extraordinary meeting to allow the
couple to transfer their lease to family
members for an undisclosed sum.
The Banks’ arrived at court on
February 3 with an arrangement to pay
$44,000 of previously court ordered
legal costs to council after they provided
evidence of the transfer of the lease of
their Blaketown property to family
members, effective on February 17.
However when asked at the hearing
about the other over $40,000 they also
owed Mrs Banks said they did not know
the hearing was also to cover this.
Associate Justice John Matthews then
adjourned the hearing for 90 minutes for
the Banks to go away and come up with
They returned to court to say they
could not firmly come up with the rest
of the money.
The Banks have previously reached an
arrangement with the council to repay
their lease arrears which led to the
Mr Pretorius said at this stage they did
not know how much of the remaining
debt might be recovered.
“ It ’s now in the hands of the official
“The official assignee will obviously try
to recover as much as possible of their
He said there was no sense of victory
now that the matter was finalised: “It’s
a messy end for everybody. There weren’t
winners in this.”
The council had an arrangement with
most of the original eight leaseholders
who had joined with the Banks in
refusing to pay the increased rentals
at Blaketown, based on new land
Mr Pretorius said he believed only
one leaseholder had not yet reached
agreement with the council to meet the
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the Banks
were the “authors of their own destiny ”
and had caused “grief ” among council
staff over 14 years — “all because she
didn’t want to pay the lease rental, which
All’s fare in street market
PICTURE: Gary Hopkinson
Greymouth’s Street Fare yesterday evening drew a big crowd to lower Tainui Street and the new town square. The beautiful weather helped and the
37 stalls selling craft, local produce and food were all kept busy. More photos, p5.
Police today reassured Greymouth
women it is safe to use the
coastal section of the West Coast
Wilderness Trail after a 14-year-old
girl revealed last week that she had
been sexually violated in a daytime
attack near the aerodrome a month
The incident was reported to police
a week ago and the public alerted on
The Greymouth Star is aware of
a number of women who are now
too nervous to walk the bush-lined
parts of the track over the weekend.
Others buddied up, rather than
Prevention sergeant Paul Watson
said they had stepped up patrols in
“Police want to reassure the public
it’s safe to use the walkways. We
are putting in extra resources,”
Mr Watson said.
Asked if a description of the
offender was available, he said the
investigation was ongoing.
Norton, of Greymouth CIB, said
in a statement on Friday the girl
had been attacked about 5pm on
Monday, January 16.
“She was walking south when she
was attacked from behind by an
unknown male and sexually violated
in an area off the track,” Ms Norton
Police want reports of a man
acting suspiciously, and also people
who saw a young woman running in
the area between the wilderness trail
and New World on that evening.
Mine rules close tourist attraction
The Denniston Experience —
an underground coal museum in
Buller — is closed indefinitely after
concerns that someone with a first-
class underground mine manager’s
certificate needs to be present at all
The tourist attraction, which
includes a train ride to the mouth
of a historic coalmine, has been
running for about six years.
Department of Conser vation
manager Bob Dickson said today
that Work Safe had been pushing
hard since January to implement
the new underground mining
Although purely a tourist
Experience is included within
underground coalmine rules.
Tour operator Nigel Slonker, who
previously worked at Pike River
Mine, has a first-class underground
certificate, and he said Work Safe
now insists that someone with that
qualification must be on site all the
“ We are bitterly disappointed and
concerned,” Mr Dickson said.
Work to review the regulations
would take quite some time.
The mine would probably now go
into ‘care and maintenance’ over
winter while they worked through
Mr Dickson said the Slonkers had
put their “heart and soul” into the
Mr Slonker said today the
experience usually closed over
winter but this year they had to
close two months early.
He had taken on consultancy work
and in his absence had appointed
an acting mine manager, however
Work Safe did not accept her as
being suitably qualified.
As a result, he could not be there
all the time, Mr Slonker said.
Chief mines inspector Mark Pizey
said the owner was fully aware that
it was classified as a tourist mine,
and there must be a qualified and
experienced manager on-site to
“It is absolutely his choice as to
who that person is and if he has
decided that his proposed solution
does not meet the terms of the
mining regulations, the decision to
close the attraction is his alone and
he cannot suggest there has been any
change to mining compliance issued
by this agency,” Mr Pizey said.
Cycleway attack unnerves women
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