Icepak Coolstores Ltd’s presence at its Tamahere site ends today [June 30], the Waikato Times reports.
The company’s tumultuous tenure at the site comes to an end under an agreement with Waikato District Council that the company operate only one coolstore at the site following the devastating April 2008 explosion there.
Hamilton Station Officer Derek Lovell lost his life in the explosion which destroyed 90 per cent of Icepak’s coolstore facility at the site.
The blast also injured seven of Mr Lovell’s colleagues, all of whom were now back with the Fire Service either full or part time.
Icepak and its refrigeration company Mobile Refrigeration Specialists (MRS), of Tauranga, were convicted and fined for the incident. MRS last month lost its Court of Appeal hearing into its $56,200 fine which it claimed was “manifestly excessive”.
Waikato District Council regulatory manager Nath Pritchard visited Icepak last week where staff were busying emptying the remaining coolstore of product.
“I have been in touch with Wayne [Grattan, managing director] and the product and the goods are being moved as we speak, so we expect them to have ceased operation by the end of the month [today].”
Mr Pritchard said there had been no further environmental impact or incidents with the remaining coolstore’s operations during the past 18 months.
“But there is still a residual impact on the community, obviously, as to what happened two years ago.”
The site was initially earmarked for return to a residential zoning but that was still to be discussed with the community, Mr Pritchard said.
Suggestions had included a rest home or a playing field for the nearby Tamahere Model School.
But principal Waveney Parker said although the site had come up in community and council discussions regarding future-proofing the area, it was not an ideal spot for the school.
As well, she doubted That the Education Ministry would be interested in fronting any money to buy the site.
Mr Pritchard said the concrete pad base of the destroyed coolstore would be uplifted and the soil tested for any contamination before decisions were made on the site’s future.
As for the surviving coolstore structure, Mr Pritchard said Icepak had spoken of removing it from the site.
Mr Grattan declined to comment.