Home' Greymouth Star : October 14th 2017 Contents SINCE 1866
West Coast Feature
Grey Hospital 1966 centennial in colour
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Pike River trust
fund wound up
The Pike River Disaster Relief
Trust, which distributed $8.27
million in donations, has been
formally wound up and all the
funds distributed. The Grey District
Council moved to wind up the
trust ’s affairs on Monday. A staff
report said that apart from being the
instigator in establishing the trust
after the November 2010 mining
disaster, with a small amount of
ongoing administration support, the
council had no direct involvement
in the trust ’s activities.
Worthy community recipients
for a $30,000 grant offered by
the Grey District Council’s
new rubbish contractor Smart
Environmental, were considered
this week. The council decided
on Monday to allow a couple of
days to come up with examples of
worthy organisations. A report to
the council meeting said Smart
Environmental had made a “kind
grant offer” of $30,000 to be used
by the council for development
projects, but to be identified in
consultation with the contractor.
Smart Environmental had already
been approached by Greenstone
Park Speedway for an upcoming
event costing $5000. The $30,000
is annual sponsorship. Smart
Environmental has council
contracts around the country,
A football loving parrot could
well be Northern Ireland’s biggest
and loudest fan — but it has
been banned from all the games.
Kelo the african grey parrot is the
team’s newest mascot and has been
delighting football fans on social
media with chants for its favourite
team. Owner Linda Corry, from
Belfast, said the three-year-old
parrot had picked up on the chants
from the family, who are avid
Northern Ireland fans. “ It has all
just developed from talking to
him at home and us coming back
from matches, he has picked things
up,” she told Belfast Live. But
after going viral with its chants
on Facebook, Kelo has been told
that it will not be able to go to any
games due to health and safety
reasons. — Mirror
Showers, more frequent later
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A heritage steam train about to
start tourist rides in Marlborough
is almost identical to the one
proposed for the West Coast but
twice rejected by Development
It will run on Kiwi Rail tracks
between Picton and Blenheim
from December 1.
Newly titled The Marlborough
Flyer the name makes reference
to the famous but mothballed
Kingston Flyer, which DWC was
twice asked to investigate for a
heritage steam operation on the
The Kingston Flyer, including
two locomotives and carriages, was
sold earlier this year to a property
developer more interested in the
land at the head of Lake Wakatipu
for subdivision. The once-famous
train has not operated for over
DWC scoped out the Flyer as
an ‘iconic attraction’ in support of
the wider tourism market on the
West Coast, but cited ‘negligible
economic benefits’, plus operating
costs and the difficulties of running
a heritage steam operation on the
Coast using the Kiwi Rail network.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn, who first advocated
for DWC to purchase the train,
said The Marlborough Flyer was
exactly what the West Coast had
It was a shame the development
trust had yet to see that its role
was to bring together a tangible
and iconic project to boost the
West Coast ’s tourism success story,
Mr Kokshoorn, a former DWC
“Development West Coast should
take the extra step by facilitating.
These types of projects have to be
facilitated by some organisation
and DWC is that organisation.
“ We’re always stopping short
of taking that final step. I think
the public expect DWC to take
that final role, and that ’s not
DWC is sitting on a $117 million
nest egg, but far from its early
days when it risked investments
on start-up projects, these days it
ser ves mostly as a bank for business
The Marlborough Flyer will use
a historic NZR Ab Pacific steam
locomotive that is an identical
model to the Kingston Flyer.
The new train operator has cited
Kiwi Rail’s support as key to
mounting the new operation.
director Paul Jackson said it was “an
exemplary example” of what could
be done when private enterprise,
Kiwi Rail, the Government and
rail unions collaborated to achieve
a positive outcome for the local
Kiwi Rail was backing it as “a
great local initiative,” along with
the Rail and Maritime Transport
Marlborough Flyer could easily
operation as part of an upper
South Island package.
He said the region needed to lay
claim to its coal, steam and rail-
based heritage, and the Kingston
Flyer fitted the bill of an icon
attraction to achieve that.
The Coast was also fortunate to
have a State rail infrastructure to all
the main towns, with spectacular
scenery in between stops.
“ We need to invest in the region.
We need DWC’s help — they ’re
the only people who can facilitate
such a thing. We need to create a
steam experience which is a point
of difference which is needed for
extra attractions to keep people
here on the West Coast.”
Given the stretched employment
opportunities with the wind-down
of the mining sector there was
“no time to waste” and he urged
DWC and trustees to “use some
“It’s found its way quickly into
the filing cabinets both times ...
“ We just can’t keep on investing
the bulk of our (DWC) money in
the stock exchanges.”
DWC chief executive Chris
enthusiast, said he had some
personal involvement with the
Marlborough venture at an
earlier stage, and a heritage steam
operation on the West Coast was
still on the DWC agenda.
“It isn’t off the radar, but
not something we are actively
pursuing,” Mr Mackenzie said.
The priorities identified in the
Government ’s regional growth
study for the trust, including an
internal reorganisation, were part
of the reason.
That meant it would be early
next year before the train idea was
considered again, he said.
Meanwhile, DWC had been in
talks with a Wellington-based
heritage rail operator within the
past four weeks.
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
NZR war memorial locomotive Passchendaele Ab608, which will soon head The Marlborough Flyer as a
tourist steam experience, trundles towards Elmer Lane during a visit to Greymouth in November 2015.
Marlborough picks up West Coast idea for tourist train
Retreating glacier gains a little
Franz Josef Glacier has nudged
for ward slightly — its biggest gain in a
decade — but is still in the throes of a
continuing ice retreat.
By the start of 2017, measurements
showed the glacier had retreated
1.43km in just nine years.
Victoria University scientist Brian
Anderson said it had been looking like
it might advance a little for a while
When he last measured the glacier
it had made a tiny advance of 20m
between December 2016 and March
2017, “which doesn’t seem much, but it
is its biggest advance for a decade”.
“And it does seem to be still
thickening up. ”
However, the small advance needed
to be seen in context of the overall
retreat, which started in 2008-09 and
melted 1.43km off Franz Josef Glacier
(to 9.86km long in December 2016),
and 740m off Fox Glacier (to 12.25km
in December 2016).
PICTURES: Glacier Valley Eco Tours
Franz Josef Glacier photographed from the same spot 12 months apart.
The Grey district had 228 buildings or
groups of buildings listed as earthquake
prone at the end of September.
Complexes such as schools are
classified as ‘groups’.
In May the district had 277 buildings
which had been identified as earthquake
prone and whose owners had yet to
supply engineering evaluations.
Owners were required to provide
the Grey District Council with the
evaluations, along with risk assessments,
by the end of last year.
Some of the 277 properties would have
earlier completed an initial engineering
process (IEP) which had failed, council
compliance team member Kevin
Hebbard said at the time.
According to a report to the council
meeting this week, it had received 77
IEPs by the end of September.
Of those, 34 were for earthquake prone
buildings above the 34% threshold for
the national building standard and 43
below the minimum (33% or lower).
The total detailed
assessments for earthquake prone
buildings received by the end of
September was 103.
Of those buildings, 52 were above the
34% minimum with the remaining 51 at
33% or lower.
The IEP is a “lower level” report which
was initially accepted as an assessment
of the state of buildings.
However, the council had phased those
out in light of the expected revamp of
the national building law.
Council chief executive Paul Pretorius
has previously noted factors limiting
some property owners’ ability to
come up with the evaluations, include
a shortage of qualified structural
engineers available on the West Coast
to do the work.
The council had given some leeway
after being notified by engineering
consultancies they were undertaking
assessments of various buildings.
228 buildings ‘earthquake prone’
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