Home' Greymouth Star : April 20th 2017 Contents The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
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THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
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Westland mayor to
vote at showdown
Strong fields for
King of the Coast
Police today warned Westport
residents to be wary about a possible
arsonist operating in the town. This
follows a fire late last night at a
Fonblanque Street property. Senior
sergeant Paul Watson, of Greymouth
police, said the occupants discovered
a fire in rubbish and wood panelling
being stored in a carport on the
property about 11pm. “ They were
able to put the fire out before it
spread,” Mr Watson said. In light
of a couple of similar incidents
in Westport lately, police were
suspicious the fire last night might
be attempted arson and called
on residents “to be vigilant ”. Any
suspicious movements, including
in the Fonblanque Street area, last
night can be passed on to police or
anonymously on the Crimestoppers
phone line 0800 555 111.
An old road at Dunganville will
be reopened as part of an expanded
mining operation which employs 18
full-time workers. The Grey District
Council has approved the reopening
of Eight Mile Road, historically
known as Guinness Street in the
former township of Dunganville,
following an application by Whyte
Gold Ltd. The reopening will be
subject to standard conditions for
the formation of unformed legal
road reser ve and Whyte Gold
agreeing to sur vey and clearly mark
the road reser ve boundaries. O wner
Iain Whyte said the reopened
road would be used for 10 years of
A factory worker from south-east
China put a half-a -metre long eel
into his anus in a bid to cure his
constipation problem. Forty-nine-
year-old Mr Liu was rushed to the
local hospital after claiming he had
a stomach ache last week. Doctors
were shocked when they found the
Asian swamp eel in his stomach,
along with faeces and food residue.
Liu visited the hospital claiming he
had a constipation problem. Doctors
diagnosed the man with bowel
obstruction and recommended that
he stay at the hospital for further
treatment. Liu refused and decided
to resort to an ancient method of
treating constipation by putting an
eel into his anus to try to clear the
blockage. However, the eel caused
a major stomach ache and he was
rushed to Guangzhou Dongren
Hospital. — Daily Mail
Cloud increasing, isolated showers
Chains will banned on the Lewis Pass
highway this winter, meaning the road
will either be open or closed altogether
when it snows.
New Zealand Transport Agency
regional performance manager Peter
Connors said today the measure was due
to the huge increase in heavy vehicles
being channelled through Murchison
and L ewis Pass, as the alternate route
between Picton and Christchurch since
the Kaikoura earthquake.
‘Chains essential’ and ‘no towing
vehicles’ will not be an option this
winter, and if the conditions are
bad enough the Lewis Pass, State
highway 7, will be closed to all traffic.
Mr Connors said the system was used
on many other busy routes around the
country where people were not expected
to carry and use chains at short notice.
“Many of the vehicles using the route,
for example tour buses, may not all be
equipped to use chains so the transport
agency is increasing the resources,
monitoring and equipment to ensure
that we can run this route as efficiently
as possible and keep it open as much as
Road crews would be working the
route 24/7 over the winter months.
“Contractors will do their best to keep
any closures as short as they can, but
this will be dependent upon the severity
of any storms.”
With more vehicles and trucks on the
road it would be less prone to icing.
Two new weather stations were to
be installed at St Arnaud and on the
Lewis Pass so NZTA could anticipate
when more de-icing compound and
resourcing may be needed. The weather
data, and the extra people working
along the route, would enable crews to
monitor the highway more effectively,
“If snow is going to intensify, the
highway will be closed between specific
An emergency cellphone site at the
Boyle Lodge (DOC site, car park and
toilet) will be operational by the end of
May. Short-range cell towers have been
erected at O’Sullivan’s Bridge (State
highway 6) and Maruia township (State
A text messaging ser vice is already
in use for freight operators on the two
alpine passes and this has been extended
to a new text messaging ser vice for
the alternate route, mainly targeted at
freight and emergency services but also
including cafes, garages and others.
Although freight numbers remain
high, tourist traffic on the alternate
highway has finally started to ease.
Tasman District Council Murchison
councillor Stuart Bryant said Easter had
been busier again but generally tourist
numbers were slowing.
However, they expected traffic flows
would still be far greater than previous
winters with the extra traffic to and
“It ’s the heavy trucks that have
been doing the damage to the road,”
Cr Bryant said.
A truck park area to accommodate
15-20 trucks is planned for opposite
Beechwoods Cafe at the southern
entrance to Murchison. That would help
discourage them parking at the river end
of Fairfax Street, frustrating residents.
They were also encouraging truckies at
Lake Rotoiti to use the Teetotal parking
area on the south side of the village,
rather than the public hall car park.
“ Toilets are being provided at the
Dyan Blick, from the Murchison
visitor centre, said it had quietened down
and traffic volumes were not expected to
ramp up again before September.
NZTA traffic figures show that at
St Arnaud, traffic movements went from
372 before the Kaikoura earthquake to
1980 — up 432%.
There are an extra 538 heavy vehicles
At Murchison, there are an extra
2650 vehicles a day, though this peaked
around Christmas and New Year, and
on the L ewis Pass, it has gone up by
1246 vehicles a day.
Anyone wanting to go on the alternate
route text messaging system should
e-mail info@NCTIR.com with their
cellphone number and name.
Poppies take to the streets
PICTURE: Ami Dhabuwala
Shirley Richardson and Greymouth RSA president John Morel are ready for Poppy Day tomorrow. Poppy Day has been celebrated in New Zealand
since 1922, usually on the Friday before Anzac Day, to support current and ex-ser vice personnel and their families. Collectors will be out and about
throughout the West Coast.
Burglars spotted at Jacksons Hotel
The vacant Jacksons Hotel building
was burgled early today.
A passerby reported a white van
parked outside the building and
items being loaded.
Senior sergeant Paul Watson, of
Greymouth police, said a motorist
passing the now closed hotel on State
highway 73 about 2.30am noticed
the van parked suspiciously to the
side of the building, and people were
loading things into it.
The witness called police about 30
minutes later after reaching cellphone
reception, and police patrols were
dispatched to check the isolated
“At this stage we’re following up
on a potential burglary,” Mr Watson
The hotel has not operated since
Police were not yet sure what
remained in the building and they
were making inquiries with the agent
overseeing the property on behalf of
its absentee owner.
Mr Watson urged other motorists
particularly truck drivers, who
were in the area early today — to
contact the police with any sightings
Police were particularly keen
to obtain dash cam footage and
descriptive details of the white van.
Jacksons Hotel has been shut
following unsuccessful attempts to
reopen. It remains on the market.
Big event seeks aerodrome venue
A proposed community events area
at the Greymouth aerodrome is up
for discussion at an extraordinary
meeting of the Grey District Council
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn floated the
idea of using the aerodrome fields
for public events, as an alternative
to the former Victoria Park, which
was abandoned by the Greymouth
Trotting Club a number of years ago.
A staff report to the council notes
that West Coast Aero Club feedback
towards the suggestion “ has been less
than supportive” at this stage.
“ However, the proposal as such is
still to be discussed with them and
this may change their approach.”
Mr Kokshoorn’s suggestion caused
a rift at the council table after a letter
signed by some councillors criticised
his communication style and labelled
him “a dictator”.
The report says council staff have
had a “strictly confidential approach”
from a major event wanting to come
It says “some interest ” in the
aerodrome area for events had
emerged as a result of the mayor’s
“The demise of Victoria Park has
resulted in Greymouth losing its
appeal as (an) events centre,” the
report says. “ Even though Omoto
Racecourse offers an attractive venue
and associated ser vices, its location
out of town appears to make it less
popular for event organisers.”
Mr Kokshoorn said the purpose of
the extraordinary meeting tonight
was essentially “to tidy up loose
ends” relating to major economic
development initiatives for the
district, all of which would be subject
to public consultation in the draft
“They are all some quite important
issues — that ’s why we’ve called the
extraordinary meeting. Every one of
them is about economic development
here in the Grey district. ”
Other items for discussion are the
town square and shared street project,
future of the Greymouth wharf
cranes, and a possible relocation of
the History House museum in a
Advertising will begin this week
to recruit a new council-appointed
trustee for Development West Coast.
Outgoing chairman John Sturgeon
was axed in a unilateral move by the
West Coast mayors, but councillors
in each of the four councils will be
consulted on who will replace him as
the joint council representative.
It will be up to the trustees
themselves to elect their chairman.
It was revealed in mid-February
that Mr Sturgeon would have his
term cut short by four months after
the mayors voted to replace him.
West Coast Regional Council chief
executive Mike Meehan said they
had now started recruiting for a new
“ We are advertising this week.
We’ve already done a little bit of
search work,” Mr Meehan said.
He hoped to have names to take to
the next mayors meeting in May.
The new council appointee is
expected to attend their first meeting
in July. Mr Sturgeon’s term had been
due to expire in November.
Councils recruiting new joint rep for DWC
Highway to close in snowfalls
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