Home' Greymouth Star : March 11th 2017 Contents The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
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Otira Viaduct engineering feat 20 years on P6, 7
WEST COAST FEATURE
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017
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150 YEARS SINCE 1866
Cloud hangs over
future of branch
The future of the 11-year-
old Cobden rail bridge and the
Rapahoe branch line are under a
cloud, as Solid Energy prepares
to close the Spring Creek
underground mine forever. The
$15 million bridge, opened in June
2006, was largely funded by State-
owned Solid Energy. At that time,
the West Coast ’s coalmines were
ramping up, and Pike River Coal
Ltd had decided it would also rail
its coal to Lyttelton. However, Pike
River closed in 2010, Spring Creek
in 2012, followed by Strongman
open-cast and last month the
remainder of Spring Creek.
Birchfield Coal is in the process of
buying the Strongman open-cast,
in the upper Nine Mile Valley.
Kiwi Rail told the Greymouth Star
the line remained open and was
used as demand dictated for the
movement of coal from the Rocky
Creek washery, between D unollie
and Rapahoe. “ The line’s ultimate
status remains under review and
will depend on the future prospects
of the line being required for
commercial use.” Kiwi Rail has
previously said the arrangements
under its agreement with Solid
Energy were commercially
sensitive. The 2015 Solid Energy
annual report says: “ The group has
a finance lease over the Cobden
Bridge with a carrying amount
of $10m (2014: $10.4m). “ The
lease contract expires in 21 years.
The lease has no terms of renewal,
purchase options or escalation
clauses.” Solid Energy will cease to
exist by March 2018 and expects to
have sold all its assets by this July.
An entire town’s tap water was
turned bright pink after something
went wrong at the water treatment
plant. Residents of Onoway, in the
Canadian region of Alberta, were
confused when their water started
flowing fuschia out of the tap. Still,
although it looked toxic, it made
for some pretty amazing photos on
social media. “My hubby gets up
this morning to take a shower, and
he goes ‘Sheila, why is there pink
water coming out of the faucet?’
Sheila Pockett said. The council
later wrote in a Facebook post
that the pink colour was caused
by a chemical used during routine
flushing of the lines, and was not a
cause for concern. — Metro
Steam train investigations still on track
Development West Coast is
pressing ahead with investigations
into bringing a steam train to the
West Coast as a working tourist
attraction, be it the Kingston Flyer
or hiring a train from Wellington.
announced late last month that the
Kingston Flyer had been sold to a
That news came just weeks after
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor launched a renewed push
to bring the train to the Coast.
However, Mountain Scene also
reported the new owners were
looking at options for the land and
buildings, including a movie studio
on land between the two townships.
In turn, they were looking for an
operator for the Kingston railway
station, cafe and bar.
Development West Coast trustees
met this week and gave chief
executive Chris Mackenzie approval
to continue investigations into the
Mr Mackenzie said on Thursday
that could be the Flyer, or hiring a
vintage steam train from Wellington.
He cautioned, though, that any
process would need to be robust.
“Is a train going to work on the
West Coast? We’ve got to be realistic
with the money.”
A train would not just need one
driver who pressed a button, he said.
He noted that trustees had not
approved the purchase of a train, just
further inquiries at this stage.
Mr Mackenzie is a steam train
enthusiast and can even drive one.
He said recently the Wellington
train was in good condition and may
be a good alternative to the Kingston
New hospital milestone
The owner of Kowhai Manor rest home,
speaking publicly for the first time since
the West Coast District Health Board
announced its closure 15 days ago, says it
will be a “huge loss” to Greymouth.
The 24 residents of Kowhai Manor and
their families have been told the Ministry
of Health has cancelled its licence and
the hillside rest home overlooking the
town will close in April.
The DHB says there is currently
enough capacity at Granger House,
which has the same owner.
Anne Hook purchased both rest homes
from Unimed in early 2014.
Askedabout the future of the 43-bed
Kowhai Manor, Ms Hook said they were
taking things “one day at a time”.
“ We will focus on the residents first,
then look at it.”
She said residents were handling the
pending closure better than she thought
they would, given they were about to be
removed from their home.
“I take my hat off to them,” Ms Hook
She believed the families and
community now had
understanding of what had happened,
and had been supportive.
“ I’m very impressed how Greymouth
has got behind us. ”
Jeff Peacock, who has a relative in the
home, said community still needed the
home and he was concerned that once
closed it may just “sit and deteriorate”.
The West Coast DHB temporary
manager’s role at Kowhai Manor ended
The board said last week an audit
completed immediately after its
improvements, but issues were identified
in a subsequent audit.
West Coast DHB general manager
planning and funding Carolyn Gullery
said the board started assessing all
Kowhai Manor residents this week as
“ we work with them and their families
to identify a new rest home”.
“ By early next week all residents will
have been assessed and we will know
their preferred option,” Ms Gullery said.
Some would choose Granger House,
and some would choose other areas of
New Zealand to be closer to relatives.
Others would head to another rest home
facility on the West Coast.
“Once we know residents’ preferences,
we will start supporting them to relocate. ”
Kowhai and Granger owner Kiwiannia
would manage the transfer of all residents
who wished to go to Granger House.
For all other residents who wished to
go further afield, the board would discuss
with them and their relatives the most
appropriate means of transport.
This may be with relatives in their car so
they could all arrive together at their new
rest home, or hospital cars or ambulances
if required. The DHB will pay for any
ambulances or other transport costs.
Kowhai Manor’s health certification
ends on March 31, so the board plans
to have all residents settled in their new
home by March 30.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Fletcher project manager Sam O’Donnell was on site at the new Greymouth Hospital on Thursday as the first concrete was poured for the large
retaining wall. The 4.3m-high wall sits below the terrace. Twenty-two cubic metres of concrete was poured over three to four hours. Meanwhile, the
steel frame continues to be assembled from north to south. The building will soon ‘step out ’ over the rest of the site. The street lights adjacent to
Water Walk Road have also gone in and will light up a yet-to-be-formed road in front of the new hospital. For concept pictures of the new
hospital and artist impressions, inside and out, check out the Greymouth Star website, www.greystar.co.nz
Police sent 10 officers to the Pike
River Mine picket one day in early
December, an Official Information Act
request has revealed. On December
1 they sent eight staff, seven the
following day, and 10 on December 2.
The next few days they sent either two
or four staff. Inspector Mel Aitken said
they attended the protests following
concerns raised by Solid Energy for
the safety of their workers who were
struggling to reach the mine site.
They were able to communicate to
the protesters and Solid Energy a way
for ward, which allowed the protest to
continue and Solid Energy to reach
the site, without the need for police
10 police sent to Pike protest
Tourist crashed into logging truck
An Estonian tourist who crashed
into an empty logging truck on
Maori Creek Road was this week
convicted in the Greymouth District
Court of careless driving.
Raul Oberg arrived in New
Zealand last Friday. On Wednesday,
after leaving the Woods Creek
Walkway, he was driving along the
gravelled Maori Creek Road when
he was confronted by a logging
truck travelling towards him as he
rounded a corner.
Police prosecutor senior sergeant
Graeme Eden said Oberg panicked
when he saw the truck and swer ved
to his right, crashing straight into
Oberg told police he had turned
right, into the path of the truck,
because in Estonia they drove on
the right-hand side of the road.
The airbags in the vehicle were
inflated and none of the four people
“ He was very, very lucky the truck
wasn’t fully laden,” lawyer George
Mr Linder said when Oberg saw
the huge truck coming towards him
he reacted in a split-second decision
and swerved right instead of left,
because he was used to driving in
the right-hand lane.
Judge Brian Callaghan convicted
and fined the tourist $650.
A Greymouth man who head-
butted a police officer, assaulted
a doorman at the Australasian
Hotel and resisted arrest was this
week sentenced to nine months’
super vision and fined $1000,.
Callan Gordon Holmes admitted
all offences when he appeared in the
Greymouth District Court.
Lawyer Marcus Zintl said the
offending was out of character and
“He has no previous convictions for
violence. One of the triggers was due
to a personal crisis where his fiance
of eight years, with whom he had two
children, had a new partner who had
moved into the family home,” Mr
Holmes was also under financial
pressure, paying mortgages on
both the family home and another
“He is extremely remorseful. He
has gone through the restorative
justice process with the doorman and
paid him $500. He has also written a
letter to the police sergeant involved.”
Holmes was at low risk of
Judge Brian Callaghan said
testimonials in support of Holmes
all showed he was not generally a
“It appears you acted out of stress,”
the judge said.
“ You are doing as much as you can
to make good of the wrong you have
done here. You are also willing to get
help for alcohol and violence issues. ”
Holmes was also ordered to
undertake a managing violence
programme, as well as drug and
alcohol counselling and treatment.
Man fined for hotel head-butting
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