Council to spend bare minimum on port slipway

Nicholas McBride

The Grey District Council has decided to spend the bare minimum on the old Greymouth Port slipway to keep it operational — for now.
At the council meeting on Monday, Mayor Tony Kokshoorn agreed for $10,000 to upgrade the cable drum at the slipway — at the head of the Blaketown lagoon — but backed off spending the estimated $65,000 for an environmental system, or the estimated $170,000 cost on re-dredging the channel.
“If something comes up where we have to spend more, that’s its death knell,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
Realistically, only three boats were likely to use the slipway. Nine other boats could use it, but council chief executive Paul Pretorius said it was “unlikely they will be moving any time soon”.
Mr Kokshoorn said there was no justification for spending a substantial amount of money on something that only three boats would use.
Talley’s already took its boats up to Nelson, where a far superior service was available.
However, Mr Pretorius pointed out the council also had its own boat to consider.
“We have our own little vessel, which we certify on a regular basis. If we don’t have a slip we would have to take it up to Nelson at major cost.”
The Mayor agreed that the use of the slipway was finite but said they hoped to get a few more years out of it.
“The odds are being stacked against it.”
He said they were holding on to the hope that someone might pick it up in the future, noting that there had been some interest shown in the slipway from an engineering firm.
The slipway can hold ships up to 80 tonnes and will only be retained on the basis that no sandblasting, waterblasting or anything that could pollute the lagoon is undertaken there.