Home' Greymouth Star : June 10th 2014 Contents 3
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TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2014
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Teen driver critical
A Westport teenager was flown to
hospital with serious head and facial
injuries after his car crashed and
rolled in the main street of Granity
early this morning. Emergency
services were called out at 4.30am,
to find a stationwagon had rolled,
landing in a ditch. The 17-year-old
driver was thrown from the vehicle.
NZCC Rescue Helicopter pilot
Angus Taylor said the victim was
a status one — “the most serious
condition”. He was taken to Grey
Base Hospital. A spokeswoman
for the West Coast District Health
Board said the victim was in a critical
condition and was to be transferred
to D unedin Hospital.
Car strikes cyclist
A motorist drove off after knocking
a cyclist off his bike in suburban
Greymouth yesterday. Constable
Mary Cawley, of Greymouth
police, said the cyclist was “very
lucky” to escape with minor injuries
after being bowled at the corner
of Marsden Road and Nancarrow
Street. Police have the registration
number of the vehicle and will be
speaking to the registered owner.
Mine stays idle
Solid Energy has indicated the
Spring Creek Mine will not reopen
in the immediate future. Chief
executive Dan Clifford, who was in
Westport last week for the Stockton
job loss announcement, told the
Westport News he had spent part
of the previous day at Spring Creek,
near Greymouth, but batted away
recent speculation that Solid Energy
planned to reopen it. He said Spring
Creek coal could be suitable for silica
manufacture but Solid Energy would
need long-term commitments from
customers and good prices before it
considered reopening the mine. “I
can’t say there’s a definitive plan to
open Spring Creek. We are far from
Fine with high cloud. Gusts easing
Scientists suspect that a 3m-long
great white shark was eaten whole
by a mystery monster. The shark had
been tagged with a heat and GPS
recording device that told scientists
of the female shark’s steep ocean
descent and of the sudden dramatic
rise in temperature of the sea dweller.
The shark reacted well to the tagging
and was obser ved to be very healthy
without any scars or marks on
it. Shark Alpha, as the beast was
named, nearly reached 609m before
its body temperature zoomed from
just over 40deg to 78deg. Marine
biologists have stated that such a
temperature rise can only be due to
the huge predator being eaten by a
bigger beast. — Metro
Greymouth rates set to lift 4.4%
Grey district rates are set to increase
4.46% — more than signalled in both
the draft annual plan and the 3.4%
forecast in the council’s long-term
The increase was ratified at a Grey
District Council meeting yesterday
lasting just eight minutes.
The slight increase was down to
higher ratepayer funding of $38,000
for the Greymouth port, and
$83,000 towards the new Westland
According to the annual plan, the
current fees charged to the fishing
industry are near the market limit,
therefore future funding increases
will have to be met from rates.
Funding has been secured for the
construction of the recreation centre,
which will be commissioned in
2015, including a fitness centre,
which will be funded by loan.
Other significant spending included
in the plan is $40,000 towards a
‘signage and interpretation project ’
and $73,000 for a Greymouth central
business district revitalisation plan.
Increases have also been made
to targeted rates to fund ongoing
operating costs, capital projects
and the Runanga water supply
An extra $500,000 was allowed to
finance the Greymouth water supply
upgrade, although that will be partly
offset by a reduction in operating
costs of $10,000 a year.
The Greymouth water supply rate
will rise by $10 to $403 a property,
while pensioners in the council rental
housing face a $3 increase in rent.
The plan also increases the targeted
rates for refuse and recycling by
5%, with the rate for bag collection
rising by 2% to cover a lower than
expected decrease in the volume
of waste going to the McLeans Pit
The introduction of the kerbside
recycling scheme was expected to
halve the volume of waste, however
the current trend is for a decrease of
The council said that meant the
life of the landfill had been “greatly
reduced ” and it would therefore
have to pay off the loan used to fund
development of McLeans Pit before
starting a new site.
The fee charged per tonne at the
landfill weighbridge will soar 20% to
Meanwhile, $30,000 has been
committed towards a new cycling hub
to be situated next to the Greymouth
Railway Station, $30,000 for a new
boat ramp in Blaketown, and $20,000
to instigate speed reduction at both
ends of Taylorville township.
Laura Mills and NIcholas McBride
Pokie machine spending in the Grey
district averages $249 a person each
Health officials have also identified up
to 197 people as problem gamblers, and
hundreds more are harmed by someone
The figures were released as the Grey
District Council reviews its combined
‘ TAB and class 4 gaming machine
“ Whichever way you look at it, that is
a significant amount of money coming
out of some people’s pocket,” former
councillor and health advocate Karen
Hamilton told the council.
Given that not everyone would
spend $249 on pokies, Ms Hamilton
suggested that others must be spending
a far higher amount.
“ Who is spending it and what is their
family missing out on?”
In the draft policy the council
proposes retaining the possible number
of gaming machine venues in the Grey
district at 18, and the potential number
of pokies at 130.
The issue has also aroused the
interest of the West Coast District
Health Board. Papers tabled for a
sub-committee meeting this week says
problem gambling can lead to suicide
attempts and suicides, relationship
break-ups and family neglect, lost time
at work or job loss, and crime.
“Once a problem gambler is publicly
identified, say as a result of prosecution,
family members carry the shame and
embarrassment for many years,” the
Community and Public Health wants
the council to reduce the cap on both the
number of pokie venues and machines
to make them closer to the national
average, and implement a “sinking lid”
on new venues and machines.
After hearing submissions last week,
the council also left the door open for
the TAB to return to a standalone store
in Greymouth, while the number of
pokie machines allowed in new pubs
will be limited to nine.
In April, the council had approved
combining the draft TAB and gaming
venue policy, however after submissions
by the New Zealand Racing Board,
Lion Foundation and Ms Hamilton, it
decided to keep them separate.
NZ Racing Board spokesman Jarrod
True said he was “horrified to hear
that you would be the first council
in New Zealand to put them back
Mr True said each policy fell under
a different act, which each ser ved a
The TAB policy had also prohibited
any sole TAB venues.
A standalone TAB previously
operated in Albert Street, Greymouth,
but currently there are only terminals
or pub operated areas in four venues
Mr True said the TAB stores were the
most controlled areas for betting and
were not located at a place that also
ser ved alcohol.
Ms Hamilton said Greymouth had a
TAB store previously and did not need
The Grey District Council has
recovered 18 of the hardwood
beams set apart from the recent
demolition of the Greymouth
goods shed, but says it cannot
account for the rest.
Chief executive Paul Pretorius
said the rest of the beams may have
been broken up when the 109-year-
old building was demolished on
April 29, after suffering structural
damage in Cyclone Ita.
However, he said it was also
possible they had been stolen from
the demolition site, in Gresson
“The appropriation option is
pretty unlikely because of the bulk
of the beams, it would have been
very difficult to take them away.
I find it difficult that they would
have broken in the demolition
process, but where are they then?
People can’t carry them out, that
I can tell you now,” Mr Pretorius
Anyone taking the heavy beams
from the site would have needed
a “substantial vehicle” such as a
loader or a digger to shift them.
The contractor responsible for the
demolition had also put them in an
area of the wharf site furthest from
However, although the contractor
had erected fencing around the
demolition site for health and
safety reasons, people had still
entered the site to collect firewood,
and had to be warned away by
Mr Pretorius said the total value
of the missing beams was between
$10,000 and $15,000.
An open letter from the
Greymouth Heritage Trust to the
council last week asked what had
happened to the 33 trusses and 66
hardwood poles, and criticised the
way the shed had been demolished.
“The trust was assured by our
mayor that ‘the demolition would
be a careful one, and anything
worth saving would be put aside
for possible use in future projects’.
We were greatly alarmed when the
building was crushed in less than
half a day.”
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
Greymouth port worker Greg O’Donnell with some of the hardwood beams recovered from the demolished goods shed.
Salvaged por t beams vanish
Former West Coast health boss
Jane Holden has been sacked by the
Tasmanian Government — but will
still get a termination payout of about
The Integrity Commission alleges
that Ms Holden — a former chief
executive of Coast Health Care, a
predecessor to the West Coast District
Health Board — improperly hired
her husband and other past associates.
Ms Holden was removed as chief
executive of Southern Health, and
head of the Royal Hobart Hospital.
In a statement, ABC News said
Ms Holden had indicated she would
defend her name. Her colleague
named in the report, Gavin Austin,
has been suspended on full pay,
pending an investigation.
Ex-Coast health boss sacked for hiring husband
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