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Mini curling tournament held on Idaburn Dam
Mini curling tournament held on Idaburn Dam

22 July 2024, 5:30 PM

A small selection of curlers put their skills to the test on the Idaburn Dam, near Oturehua yesterday.While they were not playing for the Brown Shield as initially hoped, a mini tournament was still able to go ahead with fewer teams and a shorter amount of time on the ice.Curlers had initially hoped to compete for the much-anticipated Brown Shield, a tournament which was last played in 2010 and would usually see about 17 rinks in action from morning until late afternoon.However, one of the group’s ice masters Ken Gillespie said the ice was not viable for such a large group of people, prompting organisers behind the popular tournament to cancel the event on Sunday night.Not all hope was dashed though, as they allowed the much smaller event to take place instead with four ends played.While those who took part had a great time, it was short lived as water started to seep onto the surface, Ken said.But, that didn’t stop everyone from having a good time.From left to right: Bill May, Matt McSkimming, Ken Gillespie, Murray Tonkin, Friend, Graeme Male, Rachel Duffy, Hugh Speight.“We’re all still here, it’s quite social,” he said, following the tournament.He said it was unfortunate the Brown Shield couldn’t go ahead, but cancelling it was the right call.“It was just as well we did because the ice wasn’t good enough. That’s just the way it is.”Late last week, conditions looked promising thanks to regular overnight low temperatures of -7 degrees Celsius.However, Sunday only dropped to -5C and -2C on Saturday morning.“The ice just wasn’t good enough.“It’s better for the frosts to be in the double figures to make good ice.”He said while the opportunity to host the Brown Shield on the Idaburn Dam was now potentially lost this season, those who managed to compete in the smaller tournament had a great time.

Updated: Idaburn Dam to postpone hosting the Brown Trophy
Updated: Idaburn Dam to postpone hosting the Brown Trophy

20 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Update: Curling is postponed on the Idaburn Dam due to not having a hard enough surface. Murray McKnight, one of the Ice masters at Idaburn Dam, said, "Today, we had a good crew check, but due to numerous air bubbles in the ice, we determined it was too soft. Although we considered relocating to Naseby, the ice conditions there were also unsuitable. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the event at this point. Given the improved temperatures in the Ida Valley, cancellation seems likely."The Central App will keep you updated.Last weeks news story:Curlers have their stones at the ready, hopeful of getting on the Idaburn Dam for The Brown Shield on Monday.Ken Gillespie, one of the Ice masters, has diligently monitored the ice to ensure it meets the necessary safety standards for outdoor play.“We really want to have 100mm and we’ve got about 80mm [of ice].”Earlier this week it was thought the dam, located near Oturehua, might have met those requirements to allow the tournament to be played on Saturday, but the call has been made to hold off until Monday, he said.“The ice is absolutely beautiful. We are just bordering on not quite enough for [Saturday].”There have been regular overnight low temperatures in the area over the past week of -7C, while yesterday morning it was -6C, Ken said.If the tournament gets the go-ahead on Monday, it will start at 9am and teams will play 21 ends across 17 rinks before stopping for lunch.A further 21 ends will be played in the afternoon.Each club registered will have two rinks to play on and must bring their own stones and brooms.The Brown Shield, which is a one-day match for Idaburn Curling Council Clubs only, was last played in 2010.

Former OBHS deputy to lead Dunstan High School
Former OBHS deputy to lead Dunstan High School

19 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Dunstan High School will kick start the term with a new principal, thanks to the arrival of Andrew King.The former Otago Boys’ High School (OBHS) deputy rector is no stranger to managing teams, having also coached the Otago badminton seniors for several years.Once ranked 13th in England, it was when he started coaching the game back home that his passion for teaching began.After completing a Sports Science Degree, he went on to coach fulltime in England for two years before studying a Post-graduate Certificate in Education.His first teaching job was at a Roman Catholic School of 1300 students.He and wife Kim moved to New Zealand from Darlington in late 2009, where he picked up some relieving work at Mana College in Porirua.“That was a cultural eye opener,” he said with 85 per cent of the students either of Māori or Pacific Island background.His wife got a job at Sport Otago so they moved to Dunedin and Andrew continued relieve teaching between Kings High School and OBHS.Then he was offered the head of junior physical education at OBHS and moved onto dean before accepting the assistant principal role at Tokomairiro High School in Milton.OBHS lured him back with the deputy rector position but in the back of his mind, Andrew said a principal position had always been on the radar.The pastoral care work that he has been involved in as dean and deputy rector was what he was most passionate about.“I was the guy you came to when there was a problem.”OBHS Rector Richard Hall would continue to be his mentor and they remained good friends.Central Otago was always a place that he and his wife had been interested in, and his daughter Sophie will start at Dunstan next year in Year 9, while son Matthew (9), will settle into a new primary school.Andrew's first impressions of the school was the number of sports fields that many of us take for granted.“There were fields for Africa, and they link to other parks. What a dream,” he said.Andrew is looking forward to playing some ‘bad golf’ when he gets settled, as he’d already worked out there were some keen players on the staff.Having taught at a diverse range of schools throughout the country, he has taken a little bit from each to help him grow as a leader.“Schools are pretty simplistic places . . . and, in reality, kids are kids, and they just want to do well.”He said Dunstan High School was an attractive place for a new principal, “because it’s just so solid, with great facilities and great staff. It’s never a school that you hear anything bad about.”He was particularly impressed with the interview process and is now looking forward to getting on with the job.“Let’s make stuff happen,” he said.

The Outlet: Freezing temperatures to linger in Central
The Outlet: Freezing temperatures to linger in Central

18 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Freezing fog, back-to-back nights of below zero temperatures and a blanket of hoar frost - welcome to winter in Central Otago.While MetService has confirmed some of the recent overnight lows across Central have dipped to -7 degrees Celsius, unofficial reports show some areas have dropped to as low as -9C.Add to that, low lying fog and hoar frosts, and the reality is bleak, unless of course you’re waiting patiently to curl on Central’s outdoor dams or ponds.Ice master Ken Gillespie, of Oturehua, is among those keeping an eye on the conditions.He is hoping to wake to freezing temperatures again this morning, so a much anticipated one-day curling tournament can take place on the Idaburn Dam on Saturday.A decision will be made this morning to determine if the event can go ahead, or not.Special care is taken to make sure the ice is thick enough before making the call.Over the past week, the overnight low temperatures in the area had averaged -7C, he said.“We’ve had a reasonable run and we’re very, very close [to being able to curl],” he said, earlier this week.An icy Idaburn Dam, near Oturehua. PHOTO: The Central AppAmong those also keeping a close eye on the weather is MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris.Lewis, who grew up in Cromwell and is now based in Wellington, knows first-hand just how cold the area can get.“I’ve got a couple of memories that have stuck in my mind,” he said.One involved cycling to school on a freezing cold morning and by the time he arrived any of his hair that was visible was frozen solid.Lewis said for a long time, the coldest temperature recorded in New Zealand was understood to have been -21.6C in Ophir in 1995.However, further research shows -25.6C was recorded at Eweburn, near Ranfurly in 1903.Lewis talks about the current weather patterns on The Outlet this week, showcasing what is causing the consistent below zero temperatures, freezing fog and hoar frosts.He said the forecast over the coming few days did not have any great change in it.“I think, sadly, you just kind of got to expect that there’ll be much of the same. I’m not seeing a nice warm northwest to come and clear those things out.”He said there might be a little bit of rain in the forecast, which could bring a chance of some blue skies later.“I don’t think it’s going to be a complete clearance, but it looks like those temperatures at least will start to warm a little bit.”To keep up to date with the forecast click on The Central App’s Weather button, along with Roads to check on conditions.Read more: Alexandra hits its lowest temperature for seasonRead more: Winter fun on the Manorburn DamRead more: High pressure brings -6C to parts of Central 

Otago Regional Council meeting moves inland
Otago Regional Council meeting moves inland

18 July 2024, 5:15 PM

Central Otago is set to host the next Otago Regional Council (ORC) meeting, being held in Cromwell on July 24.The ORC makes a point of holding meetings in each of the constituencies once a year, and the public are welcome to attend.Anybody interested in speaking in the public forum should let the council know to give staff and councillors advanced warning.Dunstan ward councillor Gary Kelliher said holding the meetings in the regions was not an easy exercise as staff have to relocate from Dunedin for the day, and the meeting has to be set up on a livestream.“The ORC is attempting to be more inclusive of the regions by holding at least one meeting in each area, and I do think it’s a good thing. But unless it includes topical papers then it can be a total waste of resources and efforts required to hold the meetings outside of Dunedin.”Central Otago issues should be discussed at Central Otago meetings, and this was a good attempt at being more meaningfully engaged with its communities, he said.Last year’s meeting in Cromwell attracted three people from the public and one of those was knitting, Gary said.“The public forum is way under utilised by ratepayers and stakeholders.”Air quality would be one of the more timely topics that the ORC was working on across the regions, and in Central Otago in particular over winter with the high use of wood burners.ORC would also be likely to give the councillors and the public an update on its Land and Water Plan, which was currently at stage four with stakeholder consultation involving iwi.The Cromwell meeting will be held at the Gate from 1pm to 5pm on Wednesday July 24.

Manuherekia Catchment Group welcomes funding boost
Manuherekia Catchment Group welcomes funding boost

16 July 2024, 5:15 PM

A recent Government funding boost for the Manuherekia Catchment Group (MCG) towards further ongoing work to continue improving freshwater quality has been welcomed.Last week Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard was in Omakau to announce the $1.9 million funding, and to view the work of the group’s wetland work at Thomsons Creek.Co-chair Andrew Paterson said the group’s new general manager Clare Hadley had done a lot of work in a short space of time, and was regularly in contact with MPs about their projects.Clare moved from Invercargill where she was the chief executive of the Invercargill City Council prior to settling in Central Otago.“The Manuherekia Catchment Group has been attracting good political interest and there really has been a lot of interest in the Thomsons project,” she said.The new funding would go towards a wide range of community projects in the catchment including the establishment of recreation trails and river care.Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard (left), Central Otago District councillor and MCG group member Tracy Paterson and Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan attend a recent day at the Thomsons Creek wetland, in Omakau. PHOTO: SuppliedThe Auripo (Poolburn) Gorge willow removal was top of the list, following extensive flooding in the Ida Valley last year, that had become an environmental issue, Andrew said.“It’s all about looking to help and improve the water quality from all of the catchment, but obviously we can’t do everything. We are just focusing on those things that will make an impact.”Co-chair Anna Gillespie was instrumental in securing the MCG’s successful Exemplar Project bid that saw $2.9 million in Jobs for Nature funding secured for the Thomsons Creek project.  The installation of a barrier preventing trout and perch from moving upstream where they pose a threat to Galaxiids has been a stand-out success for the group."The approach around getting that wider community [involvement] — not just the farming community — that will be helpful for other catchments."Set up in 2011, MCG has always been about farmers leading the way and working together to find solutions for the catchment. Understanding water storage and the minimum flows in the Manuherekia River have also been explored, and in 2021 the Manuherekia Catchment Management Plan was developed.The plan brought together the work of the community and how they, as a collective, could work together to manage water flows, making sure the environment was well protected and continue to enable a thriving community. It then formed part of the overview document for the catchment combined applications for replacing deemed permits, and it is hoped will be incorporated into the Otago Regional Council’s controversial Land and Water Plan when it is notified.

UPDATE: Hazardous roads across Central this morning
UPDATE: Hazardous roads across Central this morning

15 July 2024, 9:54 PM

Motorists are urged to be extra cautious this morning as light rain has turned to ice across parts of Central, leaving roads treacherous.The Central Otago District Council has crews out gritting affected areas, including Omakau, Ophir Lane, Poolburn Hill and Ida Valley-Omakau Rd.Conditions at Chatto Creek have also proved dangerous after a bus rolled on State Highway 85, which left 14 people with minor injuries.Fire crews from Alexandra and Omakau were called to the scene at about 9.40am, along with police, ambulance and power company, which had to tend to power lines that had come down.The scene has now been cleared.Parts of the Maniototo are also being monitored with the potential for temperatures to drop further.There have also been reports of light rain around Cromwell and the Kawarau Gorge areas, which could also become hazardous if temperatures continue to drop, particularly in shaded areas and bridge decks.One report sent into The Central App this morning warns motorists black ice has formed the length of the Ida Valley, making it “very treacherous”.Omakau and Ophir residents have also reported icy conditions, including Renae Corlet who wished she had turned around and gone back home.She said when she pulled onto the main street of Omakau to head to Alexandra, her car "practically drifted".Renae considered turning around before she even reached the 100km sign exiting Omakau, but continued."I went with my intuition and proceeded on my drive, but I had the road slipping out from under me every few seconds until just past the Ophir turn off. I was hopeful it would get better, and it did for a short while until it got very bad again."She said there weren't many other vehicles on the road, but she could tell those who were travelling in the opposite direction were also going very slow like herself."At one point I had a vehicle driving quite close behind me due to me going so slow, so I pulled over to let them pass. As they passed me, their whole vehicle went sideways for a good three seconds before they corrected themselves and continued driving. This whole drive I wish I had turned around, but I had committed and kept thinking it would get better and that if I turned around, I'd have to go through all that ice again. It took me 40 minutes, so double the time [it would usually take] to get into town."Let us know what conditions are like at your place by emailing [email protected] on The Central App’s Roads button to keep up to date on conditions.

Alexandra hits its lowest temperature for season
Alexandra hits its lowest temperature for season

15 July 2024, 5:30 PM

The mercury dipped to -7.2 degrees Celsius at Alexandra Airport yesterday, the coldest for the site so far this season.MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris confirmed that reading was also colder than last year’s lowest recorded temperature for the site, which was -5.1C on June 16.He said a “very large area” of high pressure hovered over New Zealand shores last week, prompting the cold air. A close-up encounter of a tree covered in frost near Springvale Rd over the weekend. Spiderwebs wrapped around a road sign take a hit in the cold conditions.A very realistic word of warning to motorists driving in the icy and foggy conditions.Looking down from the Blacks Hill lookout, near Omakau, fog can be seen blanketing the valley below.Powerlines took a hit along State Highway 85.A clear day in some areas on Monday, provided motorists with a picturesque scene.“This stagnant air tends to cool and pool in the valleys and basins which leads to the cold, foggy conditions around Central Otago. With little to no wind and a very low sun angle the chance of this fog clearing is very slim so the temperature doesn’t really heat up during the day, which means the following morning is likely to be even colder.”He said if there is sufficient moisture and cooling then freezing fog can start to form, which accelerates the occurrence of a hoar frost.Those conditions were experienced across parts of Central at the weekend, including areas between Chatto Creek and Alexandra, while other areas basked in sunshine.Lewis said the highest temperature for the weekend recorded at the Alexandra Airport weather station was 0.7C on Saturday, while Sunday's high struggled to venture past -0.7C.However, the mercury had a lot of work to do to get to that point, due to an overnight low on Saturday of -5.1C and -5.9C on Sunday.There were also unofficial reports of -9C yesterday, including in Omakau.Cold temperatures also played a part in the lower Manorburn Dam freezing over, prompting people to check it out, including local ice skaters. VIDEO: The Golden familyTune into The Outlet podcast on Friday to hear more from Lewis about the current weather patterns being experienced across Central. Check Roads before you head out - Roading Update from Fulton Hogan: CAUTION  Areas out Omakau, Ophir Lane, Poolburn Hill and Ida Valley-Omakau Road have been reported to be very slippery. Crews are out gritting.Also raining in the Maniototo area – Please be careful as temperatures may drop further and cause icy roads.PHOTOS: The Central AppRead more: High pressure brings -6C to parts of Central 

New mentoring initiative strengthens community leaders
New mentoring initiative strengthens community leaders

15 July 2024, 5:15 PM

A new and innovative mentoring initiative across Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes is building on the work already started by Volunteer South.The initiative called huddl has partnered with The Mentoring Foundation of New Zealand to deliver a six month leadership in governance mentoring programme aimed at strengthening leaders within community organisations across the region.The programme is designed to increase effectiveness in community governance by developing capability, connection and confidence among participants. Mentors with strong not-for-profit governance experience will match up with mentees and be supported by programme coordinator Fiona Reeve, who will be leading the initiative.The organisation is governed by members of Alexandra Community House, Central Lakes Trust, Central Otago District Council, Cromwell & Districts Community Trust, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Sport Central, Volunteer South and Whakatipu Hub. “Volunteer South have done an amazing job of delivering the the governance mentoring programme for the last two years and I’m looking forward to continuing to support mentors and mentees in their governance journey with this year’s cohort,” Fiona said.The programme provides ongoing support and advice to help leaders in their personal development.“It’s also a fantastic way to foster connections with other leaders in the sector,” she said.Everything from sports groups to hobby groups as well as new not-for-profit organisations who don’t know where to start, will be involved in the initiative.Fiona used to work for the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce as the membership and development manager and was also involved in running training programmes.Once mentors are signed up, a community needs survey will help gauge exactly what tools and services huddl needs to deliver across the district. Starting in August and running through until April 2025, registrations are now open for individuals who would like to be mentees or mentors. Applicants will then be shortlisted and interviewed, with the final cohort to be confirmed for an orientation at the end of August. For more information or to register contact Fiona Reeve on [email protected]

Perfect conditions for Alexandra ice skating champs
Perfect conditions for Alexandra ice skating champs

14 July 2024, 5:15 PM

An impressive lineup of figure skaters from around Otago and Southland took part in the Alexandra Ice Skating Club championships yesterday morning.More than 40 skaters entered the annual competitions, and for the first time in many years the club also held a demonstration of synchronised skaters.It is also the first year the competition was held under the new roof at Alexandra IceInline - but there was no rain or wind to worry about, with the hoar frost making conditions near perfect for competing. Some of the skaters have been training up to 10 hours a week in preparation for the competition, and the club’s top skater Bridey Sangster (14) has already been named in the New Zealand team following her impressive win at the Clucas Cup in Dunedin in mid-June.The Alexandra skaters range in age from 10 to 30-plus with a strong adult skating contingent also competing this season. The Alexandra Ice Skating Club’s synchronised skating team showed guests their routine. VIDEO: The Central AppClub president Angie Sutherland said the day was a great success, “and the strong entries show there is still a lot of passion and dedication in a precision sport that involves many cold mornings out on the ice with early starts, and a huge commitment from everyone involved.”Coached by Sam Kuri, a total of 16 competitive figure skaters from Alexandra will head to Gore next weekend for the Otago Southland championships, hosted by Ice Sports Southland.Read more: Clyde's Bridey Sangster makes NZ figure skating teamRead more: Meet Alexandra's new figure skating coach

Santana Minerals supporting three Cromwell initiatives
Santana Minerals supporting three Cromwell initiatives

12 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Santana Minerals has established itself in the Cromwell community and has several new joint initiatives underway.Teaming up with the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust this week, the company will help bring the World Gold Panning Championships to Cromwell in 2026.Santana Minerals is also a sponsor of the Light Up Winter event in August, and this season gained naming rights to the Central Otago Football League, by becoming the official sponsor of the competition.The league has been running for 17 years and attracts many migrant workers including from Vanuatu, and the sponsorship will enable games to be live-streamed, so families of Recognised Seasonal Employer workers can watch back home.Santana Central Otago Football League organiser Shane Norton approached chief executive Damian Spring about the company being involved.“What they do is great for Cromwell as is football, and it was a good opportunity for them to get their name out there in a positive light in the community,” Shane said.Damian said his own sons had both played junior football in Queenstown, but he didn’t realise the growth of the Central Otago competition, which now had many teams from Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexandra and right through to Roxburgh, playing in two different divisions.“We’re hoping they can livestream at least one game this season and then fund their own next year with one game a week. There is a fair amount of cost involved with getting the season underway and referees to turn up,” Damian said.Santana is looking to employ more than 200 staff when its Bendigo gold mine gets up and running, and some of those skills from tradies playing in the football league could be transferable into mining jobs.“But there was no direct relationship with that. Our workforce will be from the same geographic area that the football league is based in, and we’ll be looking at putting on a bus service from Alexandra, Wanaka and Queenstown to allow people to get to work. But it’s still in the concept stage.”Damian said the company was definitely ‘Cromwell-centric’ and had approached both the heritage trust and Cromwell Promotions about helping sponsor those events.“There are plenty of funding models available in Central Otago and we're not looking to replace those, but just wanting to have a presence in the community.”It had already set up an office in Chardonnay St in March this year, with six people working both in house and remotely.

Extra councillor allocated to Dunstan ward
Extra councillor allocated to Dunstan ward

11 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Otago Regional Councillor Michael Laws is pleased that the latest representation review will see an extra person allocated to the Dunstan ward.With significant growth in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes, the ORC is proposing to reduce the number of Dunedin councillors and add a new one into the district at its next election in October 2025.Cr Laws (Cromwell) along with Gary Kelliher (Alexandra) and Alexa Forbes (Queenstown) currently sit on the Dunstan ward, and the public is invited to make submissions on the new proposal.Every six years councils must review how communities are represented in the make-up of their council. Michael said Dunedin-based councillors and staff have dominated the ORC for many years, and he believed they had no real understanding of the issues in our area.One thing many ratepayers didn’t realise was that they were paying for public transport in Dunedin, and also the proposed new $60 million ORC building, he said.However, more rates come out of the Dunstan ward than in Dunedin because the value of our land and houses was higher, he added. As a result, there was taxation without representation, which was a bit of a grievance here in the ward, he said.“[Think of] all the rabbits you could kill, all the conservation work you could do, all the lagarosiphon.”Cr Laws’ other gripe with the ORC is the plan to ban all wood fires in Central Otago to help our air quality.He said wood fires were “what kept Central Otago alive” during winter and with the exorbitant electricity prices, it was fast becoming the most expensive place to live.Check out this week’s The Outlet podcast to hear more about what he has to say.

Cromwell Community Board airs concern
Cromwell Community Board airs concern

11 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Decisions on major Cromwell projects must still be made using the voice of the Cromwell Community Board (CCB), despite the Central Otago District Council’s plan for districtisation.A submission from CCB chair Anna Harrison, on behalf of the board this week, made it clear that Cromwell board members were not happy about the proposal.All community boards have been asked to make submissions on the proposal to move functions of the council to a district-wide funding model, and away from the current ward-based model.Council said in its report, the effect of the proposal was to bring the management and funding for parks and recreation, cemeteries, community facilities, swimming pools, museums and property in line with other functions already managed district-wide like roading and three waters.  The intention was to make rates equitable across the region, accounting practices more efficient and rates bills more straight forward for the community. The CCB believes these claims of intent have been made with no supporting evidence to back them.“The board is concerned about the speed with which these changes are being implemented and the number of changes being made concurrently. What will this materially mean for the ability for our board to represent the interests of the Cromwell community in a meaningful way when council decisions are being made for functions, services and projects in Cromwell?”The CCB was outspoken several months ago when it accused council of making predetermined decisions about the way that boards would function in the future through the Delegations Register.“The Board considers that future functions, vision and ways of working can only be addressed through clearly defining delegations. Delegations must establish the ways that council will partner with the board and must be explicitly written to ensure strong local voice is included in district wide decision making.”Cromwell Community Board chair Anna Harrison. PHOTO: FileThe submission stated that the board’s voice on major Cromwell projects and the maintenance or changes to any level of service must still be heard with defined and tangible influence.“Big projects like the town centre redevelopment must have a community voice. Recent decisions that effectively removed the board’s voice in the development of the Cromwell town centre project and the loss of the funds that were put aside in the last LTP (Long Term Plan) for this project have already happened, and the discussion at the workshops on continued districtisation appear to indicate that this is an assumed outcome of these changes.” The CCB submits that a ward-based opinion must be included in reports to council for ward-based projects, and the board must receive formal reports so that input can be sought at meetings before the report goes to council for decision. The CCB along with the Cromwell community would like an assurance that representation and local voice will not be diminished as a result of changes to a district funding model and that the very real needs of a town with a rapidly growing and changing population will be given full consideration by council.“It is still unclear what the board stands to lose and hence it follows that the district does not understand what it stands to gain because of these proposed changes.”

Speed message not getting through to motorists
Speed message not getting through to motorists

09 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Central Otago police ticketed almost 100 motorists last weekend for speeding, with four drivers clocked travelling between 136km/hr and 150km/hr.Alexandra Police Senior Constable Graham Perkins said officers issued 61 tickets in Ranfurly, 24 in the Cromwell/Tarras area and a further 16 around Alexandra.Three licences were suspended and the roads were certainly busier, with many motorists coming through for the ski fields, he said.On July 6, a semi-professional snowboarder was stopped at Ranfurly where she was seen driving on the wrong side of the road for about three kilometres.Snr Const Perkins said another motorist videoed her driving and when the police officer stopped her, she was clocked speeding at 114km/hr.The snowboarder, who was visiting New Zealand for the month, was allegedly seen cutting corners as well as driving on the right rather than the left, “but didn’t expect it was a problem,” he said.She faced dangerous driving charges and is due to appear in the Alexandra District Court this month.The man using his umbrella in the Queenstown Gardens last week as a fake pistol decided to repeat the incident a second time.   The first incident sparked an armed police call out and evacuation of the area.Snr Const Perkins said the man has been referred to mental health services.Police were unable to lay charges because he was in a public place with an umbrella, not a weapon, and other than talk to him, there was little they could do about it.Also in Queenstown last week, an offender known to police jumped into a parked car that was left running outside the Night ’n Day, and sped off towards Arrowtown.CCTV footage located him heading out of town towards Gorge Rd.Snr Const Perkins said road spikes would’ve been deployed near Avalon Station but the man sped up to 181km/hr making it too dangerous to do so.He was followed by police to the Wanaka waterfront after they found the vehicle still running with the door left open, as the man continued his getaway on foot.He was eventually arrested near the jetty and faces charges, including four unrelated for other matters, including theft and unlawfully entering a building.He has been remanded in police custody and is awaiting a court appearance.

ACT Bus on nationwide tour
ACT Bus on nationwide tour

09 July 2024, 5:15 PM

ACT MP Todd Stephenson says he is still committed to finding adequate public healthcare solutions for the region, a topic he was happy to discuss while passing through Alexandra yesterday as part of his winter tour.Todd, who is touring on the ACT bus, started the nationwide tour in Invercargill on Monday.He met up with former ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff who remembered the inaugural ‘mobile’ tour of the country 20 years ago when he was involved with the party.“It’s so good to see the bus back,” he said, while waiting to talk with Todd about the ongoing rates issues across the Central Otago district.Todd is a list MP and has eight portfolios including health, and recently teamed up with Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan and Queenstown Lakes Mayor Glyn Lewers, who wrote a joint letter to Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora asking for solutions on adequate public local health care.ACT Party MP Todd Stephenson (left) catches up with former ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff during the Alexandra leg of his nationwide tour. PHOTO: The Central APPBoth councils have been advocating regularly to the Government about lack of investment in local provision of publicly funding health services and are concerned there has been insufficient progress.“It’s about understanding what the private sector is trying to do and what is happening in the public sector too. We need to have the whole picture,” Todd said.Mayor Tim has long pushed for an inland hospital in Cromwell as a centralised hospital that met the needs of the whole area, bringing both public and private health providers together.Now on their way to Dunedin and Christchurch, Todd and his ACT team of four have been meeting with small businesses and rural enterprises and encouraging people to tell them what challenges they face.“We just wanted to get out of Wellington and talk to people,” he said.

St John Youth leader to compete on international stage
St John Youth leader to compete on international stage

08 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Former Alexandra Hato Hone St John Youth cadet Kohan Carden is taking his passion for the organisation to the international stage.The 18-year-old, who is now youth leader with the Bishopdale/Cranmer Youth Division in Christchurch, is one of 10 New Zealanders who will travel to Hong Kong for the Asia Pacific Cadet Competitions taking place from July 26 to 29.They will compete against teams from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Canada in ambulance and home nursing first aid events. Kohan said aside from testing his first aid knowledge, the event would be a “fantastic opportunity” to reform some of the international connections, which were lost due to Covid.The team of 10 competitors and three managers from around New Zealand who will attend the competitions in Hong Kong from July 26 to 29. PHOTO: SuppliedAs part of the selection process, each team member had to submit a written application, supported by a CV, which was reviewed by a series of people before the managers finalised the squad.Since then, the team of 10 have had numerous training sessions online due to members being spread across the country.However, they will bring their skills together for the first time in Auckland before leaving for Hong Kong on July 23, supported by three managers.Kohan, who is studying law at the University of Canterbury, has remained dedicated to St John since moving to Christchurch, but the Alexandra division “will always be home”, he said. “I started St John by having my parents stop outside of the Alexandra St John station and saying that my sister and I were going to try something new. That was roughly 11 years ago and I have stuck with it since.”His current role with the Bishopdale/Cranmer Youth Division is voluntary, but he has big plans to remain loyal to the organisation, even while holding down a busy law career.He hopes to always have a role within the youth programme and would love to one day be the national youth manager but has no plans to be a member of the operational staff.For now, he has his sights set on Hong Kong where he will showcase his skillset among some of the best in the business, a trip he has fundraised for.“The amount of support I received from my community has been amazing. I am incredibly grateful to both family, friends and members of the public alike who have helped support me with this trip.”

Excessive speed leaves footballers stranded at Bendigo
Excessive speed leaves footballers stranded at Bendigo

08 July 2024, 5:15 PM

A 24-year-old football player from Christchurch was clocked by police travelling at 170km/hr near Bendigo last Wednesday.Alexandra Police Senior Constable Graham Perkins said the man and his two passengers were in a big rush to make it back to Christchurch for football practice.Motorists noticed the driver was overtaking dangerously and nearly caused a head on crash with another vehicle, before police were called.Snr Const Perkins said the men, who were returning from a weekend in Queenstown, had their vehicle instantly impounded, leaving the players stranded on the side of the road with all of their gear.Earlier last week, a visitor from Amsterdam realised the Lindis Pass was closed with snow, so decided to detour back around via the Danseys Pass, but he lost confidence on the ice.Snr Const Perkins said he then used his satellite phone to call emergency services and locals were called in to help rescue him.He spent the night at Palmerston and police had “a serious conversation with him about his actions”.On July 27 another tourist tried to cross the Lindis one-lane bridge without stopping for other motorists, and caused a three-vehicle crash.  He was charged with failing to give way to oncoming traffic.The 25-year-old Japanese cyclist killed by a motorist in Wānaka at the weekend was riding on the wrong side of the road on Plantation Road, and was also not wearing a helmet.Snr Const Perkins said the motorist veered to the left to avoid the cyclist travelling at speed towards the vehicle and hit the driver’s door.   No charges will be laid because the driver was not at fault. He said during winter when there is limited light and the days were darker, people needed to take more care on the roads and not be complacent.

Bendigo subdivision declined due to further intensification of land
Bendigo subdivision declined due to further intensification of land

07 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Peregrine Wines’ latest subdivision at Bendigo Loop Rd has been declined by the Central Otago District Council.The company noted in its application that viticulture use of the site was more productive than its current agriculture use and confirmed it had already purchased sauvignon blanc vines to plant within one of the new lots.But the hearings panel agreed with planning consultant Olivia Stirling that the receiving environment, which is currently characterised by its open space natural character, will be compromised by further incremental subdivision in that location. Peregrine Wines first started a three-lot subdivision at Bendigo Loop Rd in 2021, then subdivided a 30ha lot into a further two lots a year later.The initial piece of land subdivided was 38.9ha - split into three lots (5.46ha, 4.29ha and 29.17ha).The 29.17ha lot was then split into a further two lots (3.47ha and 25.72ha), and now the company wanted to split the bigger piece that was left into a further 23.7ha and 2.005ha.Olivia recommended in her planners report that the subdivision be declined because the surrounding landscape had already reached a density that was unable to absorb any further fragmentation without significantly undermining the rural character, amenity and open natural landscape values of the Rural Resource Area.Although no change of land use has been made, nor any residential activity proposed on the bare land, one submitter said the application was sending mixed messages in recognising the possibility of future housing on the sites.The panel also considered that while the applicant has indicated that there is no intention to establish residential activity on the site, in separate ownership there would still inevitably be multiple buildings or structures of some sort on both sites. 

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