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THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014
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Two women stole bedding and
bags of clothing left at the steps of
the Salvation Army opportunity
shop, in Greymouth, yesterday.
A police spokesman said the pair
had been identified and officers
would be chasing them up today to
question them about the theft.
Fresh slip on
The Haast Pass highway reopened
at midday after a fresh slip was
brought down in a new location
at Clarke Bluff, in the Haast River
valley. About 200 to 300 cubic metres
of rock and material fell on to the
highway just before 4pm yesterday
after torrential rain, closing the road
to all traffic. New Zealand Transport
Agency senior network manager
Mark Pinner said contractors had
been on-site since first light to begin
clearing the rubble. Clarke Bluff is
about 10km north of the Gates of
Haast. Mr Pinner said two other
slips also occurred on the highway
but were cleared this morning.
Meanwhile, State highway 73
between Otira and Arthur’s Pass was
subject to a caution due to surface
flooding, while strong winds hit the
highway as far as Springfield.
An electrical fire in a newly-
installed coal range-type fireplace
yesterday was out by the time the
Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade
arrived at the Omoto Valley Road
property about 11.30am. Chief
fire officer Lee Swinburn said the
owners had managed to extinguish
the fire themselves. It started due to
a malfunction in the radiator heat
Rain, heavy at times, gusty
Sports officials in north-east
China have claimed the gold medal
for incompetence after authorising
the construction of a running track
with right-angled corners. The track
was completed recently as part of a
major refurbishment of a stadium in
Tonghe County. The stadium itself
appears to have been impressively
built and features an immaculately
laid artificial grass football pitch
at its centre. — but with square
corners. Xiao Gong, a local woman,
was invited to take a run around the
right angles and said it was “quite
tricky taking the corner. ”
Tornado: ‘I saw it coming’
A petrified Greymouth woman hit
the floor when she saw a tornado barrel
down on her South Beach property
Christine Adams said she was sitting
in the lounge of her house, on the south
side of the overhead bridge, when she
saw the twister come off the sea and
head straight for her house.
“ I saw it coming, then heard this loud
roar. I made a quick dash to the back of
the house into the bathroom and just
laid on the floor until it was over.”
For a brief moment she thought it
was smoke but then quickly realised the
danger and ran.
“ I’ve never been so frightened. The
loud roaring it made was scary and it was
coming right towards my lounge room
ranchsliders,” she said.
When it touched down it just bypassed
the house, twirling between the house
and a sleepout, but it uprooted a large
macrocarpa tree, blew the dog’s kennel
away, snapped fence posts and left the
yard strewn with firewood.
Mrs Adams said it was over quickly
but was still long enough to “frighten the
living daylights out of me”.
Her neighbour across the road,
Rebecca Sturgeon, was also at home
when the tornado blew in.
She watched leaves blowing
horizontally past the door, before the
twister wrecked three glasshouses in the
backyard. It blew the glass out of two
glasshouses, and buckled another.
The fallen tree has blocked the
pedestrian walkway leading under the
overhead bridge and Mrs Adams said
contractors had cleared away part of the
tree where it had landed on the main
The Metser vice yesterday warned there
was a risk of a small tornado developing
about coastal areas of Westland due to
the unsettled weather conditions.
About 8am yesterday, two Hokitika
men photographed a large waterspout
out to sea near Serpentine.
The most damaging tornado to hit
Greymouth was on March 10, 2005,
destroying dozens of commercial
buildings and houses.
PICTURE: Viv Logie
A macrocarpa was uprooted and glasshouses damaged yesterday afternoon when a small tornado blew through South Beach.
Council upbeat on hall
The Grey District Council has
agreed to work with the newly-
formed Runanga Miner’s Hall Trust,
however the major question remains
how sustainable will the hall be
At an extraordinary meeting last
night the council formed a group
consisting of Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
and Crs Cliff Sandrey, Murray Hay
and Allan Gibson to work with the
trust on areas that “needed the i’s
dotted and t ’s crossed ”.
After setting a 10-day deadline
for a full restoration and funding
plan, several councillors last night
commended the trust on getting a
report back to them in such a short
space of time and wished them luck
with the project.
Deputy mayor Doug Truman said
he recognised the restoration would
be a big undertaking.
“The heart is there and the will is
there, but there are a lot of hurdles to
come,” Cr Truman said.
The working group will have to
address the shortcomings in the plan
submitted by the hall trust.
One of the pressing issues is the
unsanitary deadline tomorrow, as set
by the council building department in
the wake of the Cyclone Ita damage
that lifted half the roof and left the
building exposed to the elements.
Chief executive Paul Pretorius was
urged to quickly request an extension,
to avoid the council being infringed
by its own building department.
Mr Kokshoorn said after wards
the extension would be given on the
grounds that they were working with
the trust to have the unsanitary nature
of the hall rectified.
The council had also previously
raised concerns about the need for a
new hall and the likelihood of it being
The trust ’s submission did nothing
to relieve those doubts, and a staff
report noted “it is silent on the key
question of whether (the hall) will be
Funding the restoration was another
big issue, as Lotteries was only able
to contribute subject to one third
of funds being provided. That was
estimated to be $292,000 which the
trust would have to source.
The working group will work with
the trust to expand the funding plan
so the council can accept “with some
confidence” that it can be completed
in three years.
Hall restoration advocate Jo Hall
had previously mentioned several
pledges of money from people
wanting to save the building.
Mr Kokshoorn told the Greymouth
Star he now wanted to see what those
pledges were and their accessibility.
The three-year timeframe for
completion of the project would need
to be adhered to, although the council
was unlikely bulldoze the hall if it was
only half-restored by then.
“ We want to see clear progress.”
Mr Kokshoorn noted that the
experience of the new hall trust —
which featured neither hall restoration
project co-ordinator Paul Kearns nor
Runanga Area Association chairman
Les Holmes — had “really credible
people on it”.
The council would have to consider
the trust ’s request that the council
provide insurance money in 25%
increments at each stage of the
restoration, after it previously told the
trust it would only provide that once
the hall was 75% built.
Despite the shortcomings, Mr
Kokshoorn said the plan was “good
Farmers put wallets away
West Coast dairy farmers, hit by news
of a greatly reduced milk payout, need
to “suck it up” and possibly talk to their
bank or accountant, Federated Farmers
Westland Milk Products announced
on Tuesday its forecast payout for this
season will be $6 to $6.40. It has kept its
payout prediction for the 2013-14 season
at $7.50 to $7.70, before retentions.
Federated Farmers West Coast
dairy chairwoman Renee Rooney,
of Inchbonnie, said Westland Milk
pumped about $450 million into the
Coast economy and $100 million into
“The ground has been prepped for a
$102m new multi-purpose nutritionals
drier (in Hokitika). That ought to be
ready by next August and shows how
confident the co-op is in the future,” Ms
“ What ’s happening is a blip but we need
to suck it up and get on with farming.
Welcome to the life of an exporter.”
Dairy farmers would be sitting on their
wallets, but as long as people “sensibly
farmed” for the medium term they
should be okay, she said.
“ For those dairy farmers who are highly
leveraged they will feel this. If you haven’t
already, you should be talking to your
bank, accountant and farm consultant.”
Dairy NZ economists estimate the
reduced payout — Fonterra also reduced
its payout to a forecast $6 — could cut
national income by $1.8 billion this dairy
season, an average per farm loss of about
Chief executive Tim Mackle said for
many farmers, $6 a kilo of milk solids is a
break-even payout, meaning little capital
expenditure or principal payments would
take place in 2014-15.
With large tax bills looming from last
year’s record season, farmers should also
contact their accountant to re-calculate
their tax, he said.
Waitaha hydro lodged
Westpower has lodged an application
for Department of Conser vation
concessions to build its proposed
Waitaha River hydro power scheme,
south of Ross.
The proposed scheme has the potential
to make Grey and much of Westland
self-sufficient in power.
The West Coast-owned power company
first signalled in late 2008 that it was
thinking about building a hydro power
scheme in the upper Waitaha Valley. It
recently reopened the Amethyst power
scheme, just outside Hari Hari.
The concession application was lodged
yesterday. The timeframe for processing
the application is yet to be confirmed.
In a statement, Westpower said it
was applying for concessions from
the Minister of Conservation for the
construction, operation and maintenance
of a run-of-river hydro scheme to
be located on conservation land
administered and managed by DOC.
Concessions in the form of a lease,
licence and easement are required for
both the temporary and permanent
structures, works and activities associated
with the construction and operation.
Once operational, the Waitaha scheme
will make the Westpower area almost
self-sufficient, without having to import
electricity from off the Coast.
Construction will take at least three to
four years, employing about 20 people
during that time. The scheme will be
automated, so once up and running it
will require only one full-time worker.
Westpower says the scheme footprint
largely avoids significant faunal and
Whitewater kayakers have previously
criticised the scheme and vowed to
► Two South Beach properties hit
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Captiva 7 LS PETROL AUTO
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027 838 9162
Ray Thomas 027 222 0089
027 432 5273
027 589 3863
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