October 18, 2013 by Doug Coutts
The company charged with ripping the top off a large chunk of the West Coast to dig up coal that no one really wants to buy has pledged to ensure the area is restored to its natural state once the resources are fully exploited.
“We have said all along that’s what we’ll do,” Buller Coal’s media manager Burnham Tilday-Gaughn told WWNews on the condition we believed him. “That’s the plan. We appreciate the natural beauty of the area almost as much as what lies beneath and we’ll put it back the way it was if not better.”
Buller Coal has engaged Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn to supervise the refurbishment. Mr Kokshoorn declined to be interviewed but provided an artist’s impression of the finished project.
Buller Coal says it will pay for the cost of the restoration, although it’s pleased Mayor Kokshoorn has offered to donate his garden gnome collection to help spruce up the plateau. The company also points out the mining project will employ many dozens of local West Coasters until they close the operation down, after which there’ll be no more jobs but life’s like that. “West Coasters are resilient old buggers,” Mr Tilday-Gaughn said. “They’ve been out of work before but have managed to survive and we see no reason why they can’t do it again.”
The West Coasters were unavailable for comment, it being only three hours until closing time.