Home' Greymouth Star : April 23rd 2014 Contents 3
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Rain front aimed
at West Coast
e Metservice has warned West
Coast residents to prepare for a wild
and wet Anzac Day. A front moving
north-east over the country today
is expected to bring a burst of rain
to much of the South Island and
another front is expected to bring
heavy rain to the West Coast during
Friday, with Fiordland, Westland,
Buller, the Tararua Ranges and
Taranaki expected to get a dousing.
Cheeky vandals damaged the
public toilet block straight across
the road from the Greymouth
Police Station overnight. Toilet
bowls were shattered in what police
described as "wanton vandalism".
Police would like to hear from
people who witnessed suspicious
behaviour in the Tarapuhi Street
area last night.
One West Coast business has
been caught out opening over the
Easter weekend, but the businesses
that opened on Good Friday to
o er emergency supplies for the
storm clean-up are not a ected. A
Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment spokeswoman
said complaints had been laid with
18 businesses around New Zealand,
including one in Reefton. "As these
businesses are being followed up,
which may result in enforcement
action, we cannot name the
businesses," she said. None of those
businesses had been previously
warned or prosecuted. e number
of complaints received was down
from 46 last year.
Drizzle turns to rain at night
Cyclists have criticised a new bike
lane --- for being just 4m long. e
cycle lane was painted in Beetwell
Street in Chester eld, England,
earlier this month. But it has already
been slammed by the town's cycling
community, some of whom have
branded it an 'embarrassment'.
Measuring 4m, it means the cyclist
has to cycle o the path almost
immediately after they have got on.
Bike commuter Will Jones, 22, said:
"It makes the council a laughing
stock really. Why on earth would
anybody need a cycle lane so short?
It's stupid." --- Daily Mail
Crunch time for Miners' Hall
Decision time is looming for the
distinctive Runanga Miners' Hall,
which lost more than half its roof in
the windstorm last ursday.
Supporters have urgently appealed
for people to show their support for
retaining the hall by writing letters to
the editor and lobbying MPs, fearing
that moves may already be afoot to
cite the wind damage as a reason to
demolish the old coalminers' union
Hall restoration project co-ordinator
Paul Kearns said there was "now
immediate and ongoing threat of water
damage as the building is no longer
watertight" and that "there are some
who are calling for demolition".
e hall, built in 1937, carries a
category one classi cation with the
Historic Places Trust.
Grey District Council, engineers and
insurance assessors were on site this
morning to make a call on the extent of
Runanga Area Association president
Les Holmes was in the building when
the roof lifted on ursday.
"It was deafening. It was so windy I
couldn't get the door open."
With the roof gone, rain had
saturated the hall.
"Over half the roof is o . All the
renovations that we have just done
have been ruined," Mr Holmes said.
"It hit home when the re brigade
came ... they were putting the tarpaulin
on and it wasn't big enough. It has
been a pretty stressful time over the
past few days."
Fortunately they managed to save
all the historical items they could
remove from inside, including early
photographs of Dick Seddon and old
Labour politicians Michael Savage,
Paddy Webb and Bob Semple.
With more rain on the way, Mr
Holmes said the priority was to have
the hall re-roofed as soon as possible.
He stressed the importance of having
the hall restored so it could function as
a welfare centre if something like this
happened again in Runanga.
"If something was to happen,
everyone won't t in the service centre
and the re brigade. e only building
big enough is the Miners' Hall," Mr
Mr Kearns said the damage was
"We need to get the roof restored
before we proceed with the
He said they would need to talk to
the Historic Places Trust to get advice
on where to go now.
"It is a category one building so it is
not just our decision any more."
He was unsure when a roof might
be put up as he was already wary of
how long it had taken to be seen by
earthquake assessors in light of the new
quake building standards.
"We need to get further tarpaulins up
there because it could be a protracted
time before we get a new roof," Mr
"Once water starts getting on that
wood, the days are numbered."
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said the hall had only indemnity
insurance, which did not cover full
" ere will be a shortfall here."
Although it was a council building,
the Runanga community owned it, and
both parties would need to sit down
and work out how to make the repairs.
Mr Kokshoorn said it was "too early"
to say what would be done to the hall
--- or if they would suggest a rebuild
rather than restoration.
"We will work through it step by step,
but it is early days.
"We need to assess what the damage
is and how much the insurance is going
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Runanga Area Association president Les Holmes peers through a gaping hole in the Miners' Hall ceil-
ing, which burst after the roof blew o and rain poured inside. e top level of the hall has been ooded and
water has leaked through to the ground oor. Mr Holmes said the building was the "heart of the
community". "It is saveable, people just need to be willing to do it."
1500 claims --- and counting
e Insurance Council says it is
expecting about 1500 claims to be
lodged from West Coasters a ected by
Chief executive Tim Grafton said today
they were still collating information
Mr Grafton encouraged people with
major structural damage to get in
touch with their insurer, if they had not
already. He also asked they did not put
themselves at risk by going back into
"If you need alternative accommodation
then raise that with your insurer," he
People with minor damage, which was
not urgent, should also get in touch.
He said people could take photos of
minor damage, get a quote for repair and
provide that to their insurer.
A team of insurance assessors arrived in
Greymouth today as the rebuild begins.
Greymouth AMI manager Rod Brown
said assessors had been brought in and
were prioritising jobs.
e company had received hundreds
of claims so far. Although some were
for severe damage, and some of AMI's
clients had moved to temporary
accommodation, the vast majority
of claims were for fences, missing
bargeboards and garden sheds.
Some clients had already called in the
builders, and re-roo ng was under way,
Mr Brown said.
Windfall for Coasters
e great storm of last week has had an
unexpected boon --- free rewood galore
just heading into winter.
People have been out with chainsaws
throughout the West Coast since
Good Friday sawing up the masses of
Some were a little too keen, prompting
the Sea Scouts to issue a plea for people
to not touch the fallen trees behind their
hall in Blaketown, which was also badly
damaged in the winds.
Spokeswoman Natalia Blair said they
wanted to use the windfall for their own
Grey District Council assets manager
Mel Sutherland said the council had
been approached by several logging
companies interested in recovering native
trees which have fallen on to road reserve.
It just had to con rm the trees were
in fact on road reserve before giving the
e upside was that would create
extra work for logging companies, Mr
Retired Whataroa farmer Malcolm
MacRae, who is surrounded by
devastation, was trying to look on the
bright side: "We won't have to worry
about rewood for the next 100 years."
partnership ranger Cornelia Vervoorn, of
Franz Josef Glacier, today issued a gentle
reminder that fallen native trees were not
just debris to clear away, or free timber
for the taking.
"In the forest ecosystem they support
a huge range of insect and birdlife,
providing hollows for kiwi and kea to
nest in, habitat for huhu grubs, and a
growing medium for fungi and ferns,"
Grey District Council sta are out and
about creating an inventory of storm
damaged buildings and what needs to
be done to x them.
Civil defence controller Stephen
May said sta were going from street
to street and knocking on the doors of
homes that showed signs of damage so
that the full extent of the problem could
Some homes would have to be
demolished and others would require
major repair, while some su ered only
"We are asking residents how much
damage their properties have su ered,
what they are doing to x it, and at the
same time, o ering advice," Mr May
e audit of damaged homes in
Cobden was to be completed today.
Damage inventory street by street
Chlorine added to the Kumara
water supply after e.coli was
detected at the weekend, was so
strong it has been blamed for
killing 10 pet sh.
e Greymouth Star received two
complaints yesterday, while a third
woman, who declined to be named,
said 10 of her sh, some up to 15
years old, had died.
Kumara resident Nicola Calcott
said the shower "smelled like a
Westland District Council acting
chief executive Jim Ebenhoh said
e.coli, from faecal contamination,
was detected during routine water
sampling. As a result, the council
added chlorine to the supply.
As it was the start of the Easter
weekend the council was unable to
get the message out to residents but
"action needed to be taken".
"Many people with chlorinated
water supplies have pet sh.
However, every sh is di erent and
I can't rule out that possibility," Mr
Comments about the smell and
taste were to be expected, he said,
as Kumara people were not used to
chlorine in the water.
Council sta had ushed the
water lines, and the chlorine should
dissipate, he said.
He expected laboratory results
back shortly, but they needed a
few days before they could give the
"We are expecting that (chlorine)
will have done the trick, as chlorine
does for something like that. It
should be ne," Mr Ebenhoh said.
Kumara stink over chlorine overdose
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