Home' Greymouth Star : March 4th 2017 Contents WEST COAST FEATURE
Uranium fever hits 1950s West Coast
150 YEARS SINCE 1866
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“I ’m a little dazed,” French artist
says after living in a rock. French
artist Abraham Poincheval was
freed from a block of stone in a
Paris museum on Wednesday after
spending seven days enclosed in it.
He entombed himself in a body-
shaped slot car ved in a limestone
boulder on February 22 at Paris’s
Palais de Tokyo contemporary art
Conservation has released plans
to make the Oparara Basin,
north of Karamea, a ‘must see’
destination, complete with a
gantry walkway into “a lost world
of moa and giant eagles”.
A research report commissioned
by DOC by the Lincoln
University Design Lab suggests
tourists could go through the
The proposal goes well beyond
a walk and information panel,
drawing instead on modern
It would have a moa and
giant haast eagle interactive
interpretation in the rainforest,
to create a lost world experience
“think life-sized silhouettes
and using your torch to project
images of creepy crawlies on to
Guided tours would take
people to see real moa bones in
secret caves — an experience that
cannot be had anywhere else in
The report authors say Oparara
has two unique selling points
one of the largest limestone
arches in Australasia, and the
only place to see moa in their
final resting place, complete with
DOC conservation ser vices
manager Bob Dickson said the
design work came out of the
economic development report
for the West Coast, released last
It fitted in with the Tourism
West Coast strategy to spread
the flow of visitors from
predominantly south, to include
“The traditional approach of
‘ build a track, create a panel’ no
longer works effectively,” Mr
seeking more interactive and
Using apps, they could offer
narratives around the pre-history
of the Oparara Basin.
“ We can then shift that
narrative to include today ’s
conservation challenges around
how we are striving to protect
whio and great spotted kiwi and
bats,” Mr Dickson said.
The concepts would be further
refined if the present design
work was approved to go to
the feasibility stage. That could
happen mid-year but at this
stage nothing was certain, he
“The (economic) governance
group will need to consider if the
project merits taking further to
the Government for additional
funding allowing it to proceed to
a feasibility stage. “
DOC was also working closely
with Ngati Waewae on the idea.
The report says by introducing
an anchor experience north
of Buller, and of equal pull to
Punakaiki and the glaciers, the
West Coast could increase its
average visitor stay length and
overall numbers of international
and domestic visitors.
Problems include road access
and lack of cellphone signal.
Retired English professor Wendy
Wilson, a distant relative of murdered
pioneer sur veyor George Dobson, is
researching a book about his death.
Wilson, who was born in Pahiatua
but has lived in Canada for the past 45
years, has a connection with Dobson
through her grandmother’s sister, who
married Dobson’s nephew.
Wilson has been in Greymouth in
recent weeks researching for her book,
entitled The Best Man in His World.
Her interest in writing the story arose
from attending a non-fiction writing
“ I have done a lot of research and
at present I am halfway through the
book,” she says.
George Dobson, after whom
Dobson township is named, was a
sur veyor for the Canterbury Provincial
Government. He was murdered on
the old Arnold River Track, which
connected Greymouth with the Grey
Valley, on May 28, 1866 by bushrangers
who were intending to rob a gold
buyer. The site of the murder is marked
by the Dobson Memorial, beside the
railway track at Dobson.
“I was told to focus on a place or
person and decided to write about
Greymouth and William Henry James,
who was in charge of the police camp
in Greymouth in 1865-70, so the
book is third person through the eyes
of William James. He found George
Wilson intends weaving different
threads of West Coast history into
her story, through the eyes of William
James and the characters associated
with Dobson’s death — Jimmy Wilson,
an associate of the Burgess-Kelly
“ Kelly was the muscle and Burgess
was the leader. Greymouth was pretty
nasty back then — it’s wild west.”
George Dobson’s father Edward
was the provincial engineer in
Christchurch. Arthur’s Pass was named
after his brother Arthur Dudley
Dobson, and Haast Pass was named
after his brother-in-law Julius von
Haast, who married Dobson’s sister.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Author Wendy Wilson, a distant relative of George Dobson, beside the Dobson Memorial.
Relative pens book on Dobson murder
The Energy Efficiency and
Conser vation Authority has issued a
warning about misleading insulation
offers on the West Coast. It said
yesterday it had received reports
that people had been approached
by another company claiming to
offer government grants. However,
EECA said Community Energy
Action was the only company
able to offer such grants. EECA
general manager residential Robert
Linterman said Warm Up New
Zealand: Healthy Homes was the
Government insulation programme
offering grants for rental properties
occupied by low-income tenants
with a Community Ser vices Card.
The West Coast Regional Council
has reached a confidential settlement
with a contractor after cracked joints
turned up in the newest part of the
In 2013, the Greymouth Star
reported the council had commenced
a “ legal process” after spotting the
problem, having earlier engaged
Palmerston North-based company
Good Earth Matters to design the
floodwall extension and supervise its
Work to raise the height of the wall
was completed in late 2010, including
new earth bunds and an additional
concrete floodwall costing $285,000.
In June 2011, the council was alerted
to “visual cracking around the joints on
the concrete floodwall at Blaketown
Some chunks fell out. Damage is
particularly evident around Dixon Park
and the fishermen’s wharf at Blaketown.
The Star asked under the Official
Information Act whether there had
been a payout, after noticing that
council income for the past six months
was $1.42 million — more than double
the $695,000 budgeted.
Chief executive Mike Meehan
confirmed the council had reached a
confidential settlement in the case.
However, due to the nature of the
settlement he was unable to disclose
any further information.
Remedial work to the joints and other
parts of the concrete wall would address
the issues identified.
“D uring the process
identified and trialled solutions to the
issues identified and will implement
these over the next one to two years,”
Mr Meehan said.
Good Earth Matters was also the
subject of a Christchurch Press article
in 2013. A 2008 Audit New Zealand
report found the company did a “poor
job” of valuations in 2008, and poor
work should have been picked up by
the Christchurch City Council.
The firm continued as valuer of
council buildings in 2009 and 2010.
“About 1600 council buildings and
facilities were insured for replacement
up to a figure set by the valuations, but
some of those valuations now appear
woefully short,” the Press reported.
Council reaches confidential agreement over f loodwall
Oparara tourism boost
A bid is being made to secure
$500,000 to extend the West Coast
Wilderness Trail from Greymouth
through to Rapahoe and Runanga.
The Department of Conservation last
year considered opening up the Point
Elizabeth Track to mountainbikers all
year round, until the estimated cost
came in at $526,800.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
has now asked Development West
Coast for funding to help with the
DOC Greymouth operations manager
Shane Hall said mountainbikes
were currently allowed on the Point
Elizabeth walkway only on winter
nights after daylight saving finished.
The business case found that the
entire 5.5km walkway would need to
be substantially widened from 0.5m to
at least 1m, and wider on some corners.
Although some parts of the track were
built in the late 1970s, others date back
to the 1900s so Heritage New Zealand
would need to be consulted.
The report also warns there could
be some backlash from walkers to
having mountainbikers regularly on the
Mr Kokshoorn said he wanted to take
the trail north from Greymouth to link
in Runanga, following the Cobden
floodwall and then along North
Beach to the point, Rapahoe and in to
Dunollie and Runanga.
“I have written to Development West
Coast asking them to fund it.”
It had also been included in the
business case for the ongoing economic
action plan for the West Coast.
Longer term, the extension could
become part of a proposed Southern
Paparoa Coal Heritage Trail.
The Point Elizabeth Track currently
has about 10,000 users a year.
Grey-Rapahoe-Runanga cycle trail mooted
Two people had a lucky escape
when their helicopter lost power in
the Crawford Range east of Lake
Sumner this morning. The distress
beacon from the Alpine Springs
helicopter, from Hanmer Springs,
went off at 8.18am. It was traced
to Graft Creek, north-east of the
Crawford Range near the Southern
Alps. The Rescue Co-ordination
Centre was the lead agency, and just
before 10am said a helicopter from
Garden City had been dispatched.
It was then able to report the
helicopter had lost power, but had
managed to land intact. The two
people were being taken out by
another helicopter company and
the company would make its own
effort to remove the machine. The
co-ordination centre spokesman
said it landed in an extremely rough
area and they were lucky to land and
sur vive. “ We are very pleased they
are safe and well.”
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