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fix ‘in pipeline’
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WEST COAST FEATURE
The West Coast District Health
Board says it is keeping a close
eye on its overall management
and administration staff numbers.
The Ministry of Health is focused
on ensuring DHBs do not
exceed expected staff numbers.
Using ministry calculations,
the West Coast board says it
is three staff under its overall
management and administration
staff cap. “Expectations from the
Ministry of Health are that we
should be reducing management
and administration (full-time
equivalent) staff numbers each year.
This is an area we are monitoring
intensively to ensure that we remain
under the cap, especially with the
anticipated facilities development
programme,” the DHB said.
Boil water notice
still in place
Greymouth residents will have to
keep boiling their water till noon on
Monday after a fault in the water
supply treatment system yesterday.
The Grey District Council issued
the notice following a failure of a
small seal on the control unit at
the end of the chlorine disinfection
gas unit. Council staff expected
treatment levels would return to
normal this morning. However,
the Ministry of Health requires
consumers to boil their water for
three days following this type of
event. Assets and engineering
manager Mel Sutherland said the
council expected the water to come
right today but they would continue
to keep testing and double checking.
Mainly fine, light winds
Greymouth Star On-line
Thomas Crown, this guy ain’t
... In fact his name is John David
Martinez, and he stands accused of
being ever so slightly sloppy in his
preparation for robbing a bank. He
apparently wore a t-shirt with his
first name on it during his botched
heist. Okay, so John is not the most
unique of names, but Martinez
made his risible robbery attempt
complete by leaving the crime scene
in a silver Honda registered to
The new $67 million Greymouth
Hospital will have three floors, situated
just north of the old nurses’ hostel
site, and it could be built by a private
After several months’ wait, the
business case submitted by the West
Coast District Health Board to the
Government has finally been released to
the Greymouth Star under the Official
However, a number of pages have been
blanked out. The business case, approved
by Cabinet in May, shows a one-storey
integrated family health centre attached
to a multi-storey main hospital building.
It was described as “one linked building
of two parts”.
Architectural drawings show it based
on vacant land on the north end of
the site, where the nurses’ hostel once
stood and closer towards New World.
For now, the mental health unit in the
old McBrearty Ward at the southern
end of the hospital will stay, as will the
relatively new dementia unit. Morice,
Hannan and Parfitt wards will be
demolished, and the area in between
the dementia ward on the terrace where
the current entry and wards are, will be
used for parking. The report infers that
the lower ground floor will be located on
Water Walk Road.
A short stay unit will be used for
patients admitted for less than 24
hours. There will be obstetrics surgery,
daytime orthopaedic surgery and a 24-7
Physiotherapy and occupational health
will move to the new integrated family
health centre. The lower cost family
health centre will have 39 consulting
and treatment rooms. People entering
the building will be assessed and
directed to the emergency department,
if urgent, or to schedule an appointment
with a GP, if non-urgent.
Rural health specialist doctors will
provide acute care for medical, child
and mental health patients with support
from Christchurch out of hours.
The report says the original plans for
the new hospital were priced at $79.5m,
but that was revised downwards. To save
money, a host of things were proposed;
gravelling the car parks rather than
asphalt, delaying some demolition,
facilities, possibly keeping breast
screening in a Portacom, amalgamating
the hospital and community pharmacies,
and getting rid of the linen re-fold
room. The report says there will be
greater reliance on the Canterbury
DHB, and better transport options will
The Crown is “willing to consider
private provision of services where they
provide value for money ”. However,
subsequent pages on that have been
withheld. Ngai Tahu Property Ltd has
previously indicated its interest.
“There is interest from the private
sector to finance the Buller Health
Centre development and the Grey Base
Hospital,” the report says.
“The typical model is for the investor
and developer to own the facility
and put in place a long-term lease
arrangement with the DHB. Options
also exist for the West Coast DHB to
acquire ownership of the facilities at the
conclusion of lease periods.”
Cabinet papers released a few weeks
ago show the rebuild will cost about
$7.2m more than the $67m the
Government had initially earmarked —
and it will be half the size, with almost
half the bed numbers of the present
A further $1.2m will be needed to
demolish the existing buildings, which
will be sealed off in the interim. The
DHB will fund $2m of furniture, fixtures
and equipment as part of ‘business-as -
usual’ capital expenditure.
A separate business case will be
developed for a new in-patient mental
health facility in about three years’ time,
at a minimum cost of $4m.
Bed numbers at the new hospital have
been cut from 102 a few years ago to just
56 beds, plus four “step-down beds”.
The layout of the new hospital, by floor
under the March plan, will be:
Lower ground: Housekeeping, food
ser vices, pathology and medical records.
Ground floor: Maternity, integrated
family health centre, short-stay beds,
paediatrics with a central courtyard.
Upper level: Operating suites,
medical, surgical and coronary care beds.
Cobden Lagoon is making the
transformation from ugly duckling
into a swan, with plans for a park to
be added to the former Greymouth
Steady progress is being made
on the transformation, with a new
bridge recently installed across
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn is pleased with how the
area had come up.
“The ugly duckling is turning into
a swan, from the Cobden rubbish
dump to something that is going
to really stand out,” Mr Kokshoorn
Getting the area to its current
state had seen a major effort
by those involved, including
the Kahuna Boardriders Club,
Greenstone Park Speedway,
Department of Conser vation,
Cobden residents and other
The project had taken 10 years but
the lagoon now had 40 different
types of birdlife and vistas that
were “second to none,” he said.
The estuary area would now
be regarded as a special part of
The Grey District Council plans
to add further amenities to the
area, including developing a family
park complete with a car park and
toilet block, on the old landfill site
behind the lagoon.
GRAPHICS: Supplied, Andrew Nicholson
An artist ’s impression of the upgraded tiphead and proposed family park by the Cobden Aromahana Sanctuary.
Town dump transformed
New bridge news to NZTA too
The Government ’s announcement
of a new Taramakau Bridge caught
everyone by surprise — even the
NZ Transport Agency, it has been
The new bridge is estimated to
cost between $10 and $15 million,
and comes only 13 months after
the Government completed a
$9.8 million refurbishment through
two agencies, NZTA and Kiwi Rail,
which owns the bridge.
After the announcement from the
National Party conference on June
29, West Coast-Tasman Labour MP
Damien O’Connor labelled the move
as “simple pork barrel politics”, and
referred to Grey Base Hospital as an
example of promises made before the
“ We would hope National can do
better on a bridge than they can do on
a hospital,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said the Government
was “taking us for fools” if they
thought the public could not see it as
an election bribe.
He thought the reason so much
maintenance had been done was as an
alternative to a replacement bridge.
NZ Transport Agency directors,
in Greymouth recently, confirmed
that the new Taramakau Bridge had
not been a priority for them — until
the Government made its surprise
Asked about the sudden change,
chief executive Geoff Dangerfield
said: “ The Government ’s investment
will certainly bring this forward”.
NZTA southern regional director
Jim Harland said it had not been a
priority. “In terms of detail design, we
had not been directly working on that,
but the Government ’s funding will
mean that we’ ll put that on the front
end,” Mr Dangerfield said.
Brownlee’s office said work on the
road bridge would begin within three
years, subject to investigation.
Prior to the last election three
years ago, National list MP Chris
Auchinvole had hinted at the
possibility of a new bridge, but only
days after the election, NZTA said it
was “years away ”.
As recently as September 2013 the
NZTA said design work had started
for a cycleway clip-on extension to
the existing road-rail bridge.
At the time, it said: “ When the
design is finalised, the transport
agency will apply for funding for the
extension. It plans to start construction
in the second half of 2014 and the
work could take between four and six
On May 16 this year Mr Brownlee
told the Greymouth Star during a
visit to the Coast that the NZTA was
looking at the clip-on options “very
seriously” but he made no mention
of a new road bridge.
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