Icepak told to get out – report


Tamahere was plastered with anti-Icepak placards this morning, a day after the company put its new, temporary, portacom on site, reported the Waikato Times today.
say no sign
Traffic passes an anti-Icepak sign on State Highway one this morning

Although Icepak staff were at the scene when the Waikato Times visited this morning, signs saying “One death too many Icepak out” and “Say no to Icepak re-build” were clearly visible on a fence bordering SH1, the paper reported.

The portacom, intended as Icepak’s temporary office space, was put on site about 7am yesterday morning after Waikato District Council signed off the building consent application on Wednesday.

A council spokesperson said the consent allowed foundations and sanitary plumbing and drainage for the portacom. But it did not change the terms and conditions for the use of the site or for any proposed future development.

As of this morning, no person or group had owned up to the placard protest.

The newly-formed Tamahere Action Group distanced members from the incident, with one, Leo Koppens, saying they had nothing to do with it.

However, that did not mean he did not agree with the placard sentiments.

“The community doesn’t want them here but Icepak doesn’t seem to take that on board,” Mr Koppens said.

“If they did (take it on board), they wouldn’t be so provocative by putting an office on site.”

He believed Icepak had already made up its mind in regards to the re-build, which was why it had spent $20,000 putting in a 300kVA transformer and obtaining the portacom building consent.

Mr Koppens also questioned the speed at which the Waikato District Council processed the application. The council confirmed it received the application on Friday. It was approved on Wednesday.

“Normally a building permit consent takes up to 20 working days. They got it in three days,” Mr Koppens said.

But a council spokesperson said because the connection facilities for the power and plumbing were already in place, processing the application was “as simple as it gets”.

Tamahere Model Country School principal Waveney Parker said although the school was opposed to Icepak re-building, she felt Icepak could do whatever it liked with its land.

Neighbouring resident Alf Steel, said he did not mind a temporary office being put on the site, but he would also oppose any re-build of the coolstore.

But Mr Koppens, together with the other action group members, believed the portacom was just the beginning of Icepak’s plan to re-build.

“That’s their logic,” Mr Koppens said. “Irrespective of what they’re telling us they’re going forwards. It’s all part of their long term plan.”

Icepak declined to comment on this morning’s protest, but a company spokesperson said a notice was sent to the community on May 25 advising them of Icepak’s wish to put a portacom on the site.

Icepak was still “weeks away” from any decision to re-build the coolstore.

7 thoughts on “Icepak told to get out – report

  • June 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Iain, You are quite right I’m not impartial. Nearly being blown up because you are 80m from an exploding building does that to you. I am a journalist but I am also a resident of Tamahere and a close neighbour to Icepak – too close. I am not reporting for any mainstream news media. There are plenty of reporters on the story who are doing a fine job. I simply set this blog up to try and enable Tamahere residents to be informed about events associated with the fire and its aftermath. I am very willing to work with the rest of similarly minded Tamahere people to try and make sure Icepak or anyone else does not put all of us in such danger again. I didn’t ask you to say sorry but I wonder why you find it such a difficult word to manage. I would think everyone would be sorry that a firefighter lost his life and others are terribly injured. I certainly am very sorry that such things happened to people trying to protect us.

  • June 9, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    You are hardly impartial Philippa Stevenson considering you are partner to Leo Koppens. A sorry for Icepak exploding wow a firefighter has lost his life and others injured and you are expecting a sorry. Perhaps let other journalists have a chance to give the public a non biased look into the tamahere fire.

  • June 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

    How can the neighborhood be constructive when the icepak site was so DESTRUCTIVE.
    The admission by the company that propane was used has caused the ultimate dis-trust
    for any mooted rebuild in Tamahere.
    We thought we had a cosy place to live, well our house shifted,ceilings lifted,floors got
    rippled, windows broken, pipes torn,window jambs cracked, roller doors blown out,
    30 year old trees burnt. .
    The only reason the remaining store survived was the good natured locals whom cut down
    trees,cut fences and shifted equipment to get water tankers through our property to fight
    the fire.
    At our cost we had to get accommodation when the breathing became impossible.
    During repairs we again have to stay away while the floors get redone.
    Maybe this goes some way towards how the locals feel.
    Sorry would have been good.

  • June 8, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Iain, I am very gainfully employed, thank you. Few people in Tamahere are not. Regardless of what the investigations show the fact remains that Icepak blew up the neighbourhood and caused one of the biggest fires in NZ history. People get decidedly tetchy about such things. They don’t need the results of an investigation to decide they don’t want that sort of risk to their children while at school or to their homes.

  • June 8, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Is this constructive???perhaps wait until the whole investigation is over before damning them. It looks to me as you all have to much time on your hands. Stop scare mongering and get a real job

  • June 7, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Doug, I know I can speak for a lot of Tamahere people because I have heard from them. The April 5 explosion and fire at Icepak’s Tamahere plant was a shocking and traumatic event in our quiet community. It killed a man outright. Seven others who were injured will never be the same. A quiet Saturday evening in Tamahere was turned into a war zone with a blast that was felt far and wide and a fire that burnt for a week. That was bad enough. But we all know now it could have been much worse. We know now we were lucky more people didn’t die. Now we would like to know that it can’t happen again, that we and our children who go to school next to the Icepak site are safe to walk around our neighbourhood. We’d like to know that we haven’t got a ticking time bomb in our neighbourhood. We would like peace of mind. The company, Icepak, put the bomb in our midst and the only way we will have peace of mind is if it isn’t there to do it again.

  • June 7, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Why is this company unpopular?


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