Coal discussion fails to stoke interest

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013

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Organisers of a Gore public meeting to discuss the effects of coal-mining and the Southland economy say they are disappointed by the poor community turn out yesterday.

About 60 people attended the public forum - Shaping Our Future, We Have Options.

Coal Action Network Murihiku co-spokesman Dave Kennedy said while some were community members, most at the meeting were activists who had attended the Keep the Coal in the Hole festival.

"I think perhaps people think the threat is not as great as it was," he said.

Southland's economy was also discussed, which he thought would have attracted more people.

"Given the recent job losses at the freezing works and Tiwai smelter I would have expected to see more interest," Mr Kennedy said.

This year would be pivotal for the environment and the economy, he said.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks gave the opening address and Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno closed the meeting.

The public was updated on Solid Energy's lignite projects.

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- The Southland Times

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