For Sale signs were up at the killer Hamilton coolstore site today, with owner Icepak saying the community no longer wanted it, reported NZPA today.
Icepak was among those charged over the Tamahere coolstore explosion and fire in April that left one firefighter, senior station officer Derek Lovell, dead and seven others injured, the report noted.
The coolstore was about 100m from the local primary school.
Icepak managing director Wayne Grattan told NZPA talks with the community since the blaze had led to the property being put up for sale.
“That’s the way we’ve been heading for some time,” he said.
“They don’t want us to rebuild on the site, we recognise that.
“This is an opportunity to find another site that will hopefully work better for us, and the community is happy with that move.
“Maybe it’s a win-win opportunity, that’s probably not the right word, but if we can rebuild somewhere else and improve everyone’s lot out of that process, that’s good.”
The Department of Labour laid the charges in Hamilton District Court last week, refusing to give details of the defendants or the charges.
Mr Grattan said the company had negotiations under way over another site. He did not want to say where it was.
Market uncertainty due to the financial crisis and its deadly past, meant it was hard to pick a price the site would fetch.
The two hectare site had a government valuation of more than $1 million when it had two coolstores on it, he said.
One coolstore remained, but a concrete pad was all that was left of the other.
“We envisaged it will take some time to sell, but that’s the process we’ve got under way, and we just wanted to keep going with it.
“Whatever someone wants to do on the site, we want the community to agree to, so that process will take a while to work through.”
Resident Arnold Koppens told NZPA the sale was good news.
“I’m pleased to see that they’re going, the sooner the better, and I hope they all go to jail, the ones responsible for it,” he told NZPA.
“It makes me angry to see that they ran LPG in their systems from 2003 onwards and didn’t tell anybody, including the neighbours.”
Icepak had operated on the Tamahere site for 17 years, Mr Grattan said.
A Fire Service report last week said firefighters at the explosion did not know the coolstore used the highly flammable gas Hychill Minus 50 as a refrigerant.
CB Richard Ellis in Hamilton is handling the sale.