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WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
188666 Phone 769 79000
Five old pohutukawa trees
dug out of the ground yesterday
were a risk to the floodwall,
authorities say, promising that
replacements will be planted.
Blaketown residents had
hoped the trees, badly damaged
in Cyclone Ita and heavily
pruned as a result, would sprout
However, some were horror-
contractors arrived and started
to dig out the stumps.
West Coast Regional Council
planning and environment
manager Mike Meehan said
five trees were removed.
New trees would be planted in
their place, though further back
from the floodwall.
He said an engineering report
had identified the five trees, and
some pines by the Blaketown
Playcentre, as a risk to the
integrity of the floodwall.
“They were identified as being
a potential threat through
their roots, if they fell over and
ripped a chunk out of the wall,”
Mr Meehan said.
He assured residents the
council would help to restore
the vista which had been taken
Grey District Council assets
and engineering manager Mel
Sutherland said they appreciated
that the pohutukawa grove had
been part of the Blaketown
landscape for some time.
“But with the damage to the
trees caused by Cyclone Ita it
was considered an appropriate
time for these ones close to the
floodwall to be removed.”
The remaining pohutakawa
had been trimmed to a uniform
“Being a hardy tree they
are all likely to recover,” Mr
He also said new seedlings
could be replanted to replace
the ones lost, further away from
The brother of missing
Hokitika man, 35-year-old
Corey Stephens, said today he
was a happy, spiritual man and
a “bit of a MacGyver”.
Police says things are “not
looking too good” for Mr
Stephens, who has not been
seen since he headed off last
Tuesday on a week-long
hunting trip into the hills
behind Hari Hari.
His younger brother Nigel
Stephens, who lives in
Australia, headed back to New
Zealand as soon as he found
out that Corey was overdue
from a hunting trip.
“Corey is a very spiritual
happy man with strong
Stephens said today.
Nigel Stephens has joined
searchers to help look for his
brother and praised the efforts
of the West Coast search and
“The searchers have done a
very good job, in fact they have
done a brilliant job and along
with the police searchers, we
are grateful to the volunteers
who have given up their time
to take part in the search
Corey Stephens’ family
has gathered in Hokitika
to support one another, his
young wife and nine-month-
“Corey is a God-fearing
father and husband, who is
very good at looking after
himself,” Nigel Stephens said.
A search was launched on
Sunday after his brother failed
to arrive at the Wanganui
Bridge car park on Friday.
Late yesterday, a
belonging to the missing man
was found on the banks of the
The search area south has
now been scaled back and
today searchers were focusing
on the lower stretches of the
river and the beach at the
mouth of the river, north of
West Coast police search and
rescue co-ordinator sergeant
Sean Judd, said the search
effort to date had failed to
locate any sign of the hunter,
except for two personal items
— the first was a tarpaulin and
the second the distinctive hat.
Several land search and
rescue teams had scoured the
valley and a swift water rescue
team has also searched the
main Wanganui River.
Mr Judd said that search
teams would continue looking
today and then it was likely the
search would be temporarily
suspended to let the river,
which was high, settle down.
“Once that has happened,
we will search again,” Mr Judd
Mr Judd admitted it was “not
He said the man’s family were
still coming to terms with the
news and his disappearance
was “very tough on them”.
Corey Stephens had hired a
personal locator beacon which
had not been activated.
DOC on rowi
The Department of Conser vation
will scan the Okarito forest for
the first rowi kiwi eggs of the year
in the next week. Community
relations ranger Cornelia Ver voorn,
said they were feeling positive they
would find eggs from the world’s
rarest kiwi. There are fewer than
400 rowi left in New Zealand. Ms
Ver voorn said the chicks would
be raised in Franz Josef Glacier’s
Wildlife Centre where they would
“ learn to be a kiwi”. They will then
be transferred to the predator free
Motuara Island in the Marlborough
Sounds. When they weigh 1kg they
are considered to be strong enough
to fight off threats like stoats,
and will be released back into the
West Coast on
The West Coast episode of
international travel show RV
Rampage will screen on New
Zealand television on the Travel
Channel tomorrow at 7.30pm.
The seventh episode of the series
features Greymouth and Charleston
with contestants completing
challenges involving panning for
gold in a mountain river, driving 4x4
vehicles through rough terrain and
investigating a natural cave system.
Police visiting a Whataroa address
at the weekend to speak to the
occupier about unpaid fines, found
cannabis and utensils. Constable
Bill Parker of the Franz Josef
Glacier police said that about 10g
of cannabis was found. “ We had
gone to the address to execute a
seizure warrant for unpaid fines and
found the cannabis. ” The offender
will be summonsed to appear in the
Greymouth District Court.
Fine, frosty and southwesterlies
An inmate at a notoriously lax
UK open jail was caught trying to
smuggle a rabbit inside to keep as a
pet. The prisoner at Hollesley Bay
open prison in Woodbridge, Suffolk,
is thought to have found the animal
while outside on day release. He was
able to bring the rabbit back inside
the prison — nicknamed Holiday
Bay because its laid-back regime —
where convicts managed to build
it a hutch and started treating it
as a prison pet. Prison wardens
eventually found and confiscated
the rabbit, then gave it to a rescue
centre. — Daily Mail
Kim Fulton and Lee Scanlon
of the Westport News
Work has finally begun at Bathurst
Resource’s Denniston Escarpment Mine.
Conser vation Minister Nick Smith granted
Bathurst its final approval for the mine
last month after more than 30 hearings.
The application for the mine was originally
lodged over five years ago.
Bathurst corporate relations general
manager Sam Aaron said early works at the
mine began yesterday. It involved erecting
signs and fences and continuing inductions
of site staff.
So far there were “just a couple of chaps”
from Bathurst ’s Cascade Mine working at
the Denniston site, she said.
Bathurst recently said initial work would
involve about six workers, all from its current
workforce. The mine would ramp up to about
60 workers early next year, then level off until
the international coal price improved.
At full production the mine is expected to
employ more than 200 — but that will not
replace the 240-plus jobs Buller expects to
lose in the next couple of months at Stockton
open-cast mine and Reefton’s Oceana Gold
Bathurst has reduced the area it plans to
mine at Escarpment within the first two
years from 62.2ha to 19.3ha and slashed its
planned coal extraction during that time
from 558,000 to 75,000 tonnes.
Bathurst was to have paid a $22 million
compensation package over five years to the
Department of Conser vation, but will now
pay that sum over seven years.
Bathurst has paid an initial bond of about
$1.5m to the Buller District Council, West
Coast Regional Council and Department of
Managing director Hamish Bohannan told
the News last month that he was confident
Bathurst could fund the project, despite its
quarterly report showing it had only $2.3m
cash remaining and it had burned through
over $8m since the end of September.
Since then it has raised more funds from
share issues. Mr Bohannan said it had about
$7m cash in hand.
He said the set-up costs for the mine were
low, in the order of hundreds of thousands
Search to be suspended
PICTURE: Stewart Nimmo
Corey Stephens with his wife Elie and baby Koriniti.
work on new mine
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Council promises to
replace Blaketown trees
More than 200 to be employed at full production
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