Home' Greymouth Star : January 9th 2018 Contents P5
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TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2018
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from cycle trail
The NZCC West Coast Rescue
Helicopter was called out to the
Kawhaka section of the West Coast
Wilderness Trail, between Kapitia
Dam and Cowboys Paradise, about
9 o’clock last night to uplift an
unwell infant and their mother. They
were taken to Grey Base Hospital.
About midday the helicopter had
been called to transfer a patient
from the Ngakawau Medical Centre
to Christchurch Hospital.
Police warn they will be keeping an
eye out for speeding traffic through
the roadworks associated with the
new Taramakau Bridge, with the
introduction of controlled one-lane
30kph measures on Monday. State
highway 6 on the south side of the
road-rail bridge has been reduced
to one lane traffic during daylight
hours, with stop-go controls, as work
steps up on the southern approach
to the new bridge. Senior sergeant
Paul Watson, of Greymouth police,
said the speed limit had dropped
to 30kph all the way through from
the Camerons end to the Kumara
Tram exit, now that work on the new
bridge had resumed this week. “For
most of the day it will be a controlled
single-lane. We urge drivers to stick
to those limits and have regards to
the workers out there, but we will
still be monitoring the speed limits,”
Mr Watson said. “ The long-term
benefits to the public over the short-
term inconvenience of roadworks
will be outweighed by the little bit of
time it takes to get through there.”
Meantime, motorists everywhere
on the West Coast were advised to
exercise a bit of caution with road
conditions following the recent dry
weather and the expected arrival of
rain, which could make the roads
greasy, he said.
Periods of rain
A prison riot erupted when
prisoners fought over whether to
watch darts or football on television.
Six guards were attacked with
pool cues and other makeshift
weapons in the terrifying flare-
up at a maximum-security jail
HMP Shotts in Lanarkshire.
Football fans insisted on seeing
the St Mirren-Dundee United
Scottish Championship match. But
supporters of Scots darts hero Gary
Anderson wanted to watch him in
action against Phil Taylor in the
quarter-finals of the World Darts
Championships. — The Mirror
Stalemate on Revies demolition
As Revingtons, Greymouth’s once
grand old hotel, steadily becomes even
more derelict, the battle lines between
the Grey District Council and its
Nelson-based owners are becoming
The owners now threaten to board
up the building and leave it to fall into
further disrepair, at the entrance to the
Greymouth central business district.
However, the council says that is not
The building warrant of fitness has
The sticking point is the council
requirement for a quantity sur veyor ’s
report into the cost of bringing the
1930s-vintage hotel up to earthquake
code, as opposed to demolishing it.
Environment ser vices manager Ben
Healey said they were only following
due process under the requirements of
the Building Act.
Spokesman for the owners, Bruce
Vercoe, said the council would not
be getting a quantity sur veyor’s
report since they had already spent
thousands of dollars on reports.
want a resource consent to pull it
down?” Mr Vercoe said.
“ To get a quantity sur veyor’s
report is a huge process. We did an
engineer ’s report that cost $10,000; an
archaeologist cost another $10,000; a
resource consultant $20,000. Now the
council want us to add to this extra
Mr Vercoe said it was just unviable
to repair the building.
It would cost $1 million just to
strengthen it, and repair costs would
be such that no one would take up a
lease on the building.
“$1.5m might do and it might not.”
The more money the council required
the owners to spend on a building
they wanted to demolish, the less they
had for any future development of one
of the few freehold business sites in
downtown Greymouth, Mr Vercoe
Mr Healey said the council was
being patient with the Vercoes.
“ We haven’t
infringement path; it’s not beneficial
“ We had to put that 124 section of
the Building Act on the hotel (that it
was unsafe); if we hadn’t we would be
Because Revingtons has a category
2 Heritage NZ classification, resource
consent to demolish was required and
had to be publicly notified, opening it
up to public submissions.
“It’s a hindrance to the owners,”
Mr Healey said.
Heritage NZ had given the go-
ahead for demolition.
Mr Healey said the council would
discuss how long it was prepared to
wait before taking further action.
“ We have to be fair and reasonable.
“This is an issue that is facing not
just Greymouth but other small towns
also. One example is Thames where
their CBD is potentially in the same
“There are only so many legal steps
we can take; it is quite an arduous
Mr Vercoe said until the building
was demolished, they did not know
what they would do with the site.
Boutique bars with other multiple
premises could be a possibility for
the site. “ There’s no reason why the
Revingtons name can’t be retained as
well,” he said.
Dale Vercoe said the hotel had been
empty for two years but they were still
paying full rates.
He was unhappy with the council.
“It ’s not council that make a town;
it’s developers,” Mr Vercoe said.
In its more illustrious past
Revingtons Hotel hosted Queen
Elizabeth and the D uke of Edinburgh
in the 1950s.
Tourism West Coast is working
on better communication to avoid
visitors getting ‘hangry’ during the
Christmas Day shutdown.
This follows a complaint from
an Australian visitor, who was
upset to find both Greymouth and
Hokitika closed for the day, with
nowhere for tourists to get a feed.
Even KFC and McDonald’s were
But it turns out Greymouth was
not as closed as the visitor had
Both major tourist hotels, the
Ashley and Kingsgate, had their
restaurants open, as did the Donny
and Marie Restaurant at the
Railway Hotel and Buccleugh’s on
High Restaurant at the Recreation
The welcome mat was also
out for the annual community
Christmas Dinner at the Baptist
Church for locals and visitors who
found themselves with nowhere to
Buccleugh’s co-owner Linda
Connors said a few tourists
had popped into the hotel on
Christmas Day in the hope of
“They didn’t have bookings. They
came in and were told they were
most welcome to partake in our
buffet Christmas lunch.”
The visitors had a “ lovely day ”
and were “more than happy with
what we offered them”.
Tourist West Coast chief
executive Jim Little said the
problem of the holiday shutdown
was not unique to the West Coast.
“I was in Auckland on Christmas
Day and the whole of the Viaduct
On the bright side, Mr Little said
all eateries in Franz Josef Glacier
had been open to cater for tourists.
local cafe and restaurant owners to
decide whether they open up on
Christmas Day or not.”
This Christmas, Tourism West
Coast planned to identify all of the
restaurants and cafes around the
West Coast on their website that
were opening on Christmas Day,
in an attempt to avoid future
A shipwreck from 80 years ago is
posing a threat to surfers and swimmers
at Cobden beach, with the beach level
currently at a 30-year low.
Some of the boilers of the Abel
Tasman — which broke its moorings
and drifted across the Grey River bar to
smash on the Cobden tiphead in July
1936 — have been exposed in the past
couple of months by heavy seas.
The spectacle of the boiler emerging
out of the beach has created a lot of
interest but it also poses a threat to the
safety of surfers frequenting the popular
spot at high tide.
The Kahuna Boardriders Club had
approached the council about the
wreckage, which over the years had
drifted to the beach from the tiphead
and included quite sharp and jagged
pieces of metal jutting skyward through
“ When the tide is high they sit just
under the surface and they ’re a major
hazard for the many people who are
surfing down on the beach,” Mayor
Tony Kokshoorn said.
It was only a matter of time before a
visiting surfer with no local knowledge
would fall foul of the wreck at high tide
and there would be “a major incident ”.
Kahuna Boardriders member Jeff
Jones said the beach was the lowest he
had seen it in 30 years and the wreck
was a real danger.
“The trouble is when you are in the
water you can’t always see it; especially
when the tide is in.”
Surfers concentrating on their sport
might not have time to spot it until it
was too late, Mr Jones said.
“It ’s definitely a danger. Someone
could easily get hooked up in it and it ’s
They would like to see it moved.
Mr Kokshoorn said the council
management was looking at the
feasibility of moving the boiler remains.
“It may be they can be shifted to
a place where there can be some
interpretation for the public to enjoy.
“Management said they may have to
contact Heritage New Zealand but I
said it really needs to have something
urgently done about it so we can create
a safe environment for the surfers.”
The intercolonial steamer Abel
Tasman, weighing in at 2042 tons gross,
was moored at the Greymouth wharf
on the night of July 17, 1936 when it
broke its moorings about 5am with the
Grey River in flood.
Crew members quickly got up steam
but attempts to ground the vessel, first
near the Blaketown lagoon and then in
the bight of the northern breakwater,
The ship was swept across the bar,
snagging on an earlier shipwreck, the
Kaponga, on the Cobden tiphead. It
then drifted well clear of the bar but
the prevailing nor-westerly pushed it
back against the tiphead, where it was
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Part of the Abel Tasman boilers, which have recently been exposed on the Cobden beach. Inset: The Abel Tasman shortly after it ran aground on the Cobden
tiphead in 1936.
Housing New Zealand has
installed smoke alarms in 94
properties in the Grey district,
says area manager Dale Bradley
They have also built secure
Mr Bradley said the driveway
programme was aimed at making
them safer for children at the
The work was completed
in partnership with Fire and
Housing NZ addresses safety
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