Home' Northern Outlook : November 28th 2012 Contents 3
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, NOVEMBER 28, 2012
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By CATE BROUGHTON
UNOCCUPIED RED-zoned properties in
Kaiapoi, Pines and Kairaki Beaches are a
fire hazard and need to be cleared properly
to prevent more fire outbreaks, says a
senior fire officer.
Waimakariri District Council principal
rural fire officer Tim Sheppard said the
Rural Fire Service would be requesting
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Auth-
ority (Cera) to clear the sections as soon as
They are a fire hazard and as the
weather dries out and warms up as it is
inevitably going to do, it's only going to get
Mr Sheppard said there had been several
fires in unoccupied red-zoned properties at
Pines Beach and Kaiapoi recently and a
prevention strategy needed to be employed.
A Cera spokesperson said the Fire Ser-
vice was responsible for identifying fire
hazards and has a process in place to
Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said a
second stage of property clearances started
this week, with block clearance work com-
mencing on Kaiapoi's Courtenay Drive''.
First we took down the damaged homes,
now we are clearing other remaining struc-
tures in the residential red zone.
Fences are being taken down, driveways
are being pulled up, remaining vegetation is
being taken out and grass is being sown.''
Contractors will work to clear the sites
between 6am to 7pm each week day and
from 8am on Saturdays.
A typical block clearance takes two to
three weeks to complete.
Ten years of receptions
GOING STRONG: Dawn and Richard Spark from Rossburn Receptions in Rangiora are celebrating 10 years in business.
By CATE BROUGHTON
THE COUPLE behind popular Rangiora
events centre Rossburn Receptions are
marking 10 years in the business.
Dawn and Richard Spark, both now 68,
set out on a new adventure when they
turned part of the family dairy farm
owned by Mr Spark and his brother Bob
into an events centre a decade ago.
An open day for the local community on
December 2 -- including free tours of the
museum and devonshire teas -- was a way
to recognise the support they had received
over the past 10 years, Mrs Spark said.
With no specific catering or event
experience -- apart from hosting Mr
Spark's Northbrook Museum -- they
threw themselves into learning on the job.
Mrs Spark said her experience cooking
for six children and interest in cooking
provided a good foundation.
Starting small, with their first function
a dinner for 12 people, they built up to
larger functions as their confidence grew.
The largest group was a muscle-car
convention which saw them preparing a
one-course meal for 480 guests.
That took a lot of planning, but it went
really smoothly and they came back the
following two years,'' Mrs Spark said.
Though the Sparks work together, they
have their areas of expertise -- with des-
serts and baking the domain of Mrs Spark
and roast potatoes and sandwiches done
to perfection by Mr Spark.
The hardest part was working out the
proportions and quantities for large
groups, but the key for success was plan-
ning, they said.
There's a saying -- at the end of the
meal you want to be looking at food not
looking for food -- and that's what we go
by,'' Mr Spark said.
There had been some kitchen night-
mares over the years, including a night
when the oven fuses blew just after they
had seated a party of 140 people.
In the 10 years since the Receptions
opened, the Sparks have hosted about
1500 functions, including close to 200
weddings and 200 funerals.
They have also continued their expan-
sion, building a chapel and a playground
next to the reception room two years ago.
Though heading into a period of life
when many are cutting back, the Sparks
are showing no sign of slowing down.
Next year will see the opening of
another addition to the Receptions, with
an extension to provide another room for
Their venture had been made possible
by the support of the local community and
family, especially Mr Spark's brothers
Bob and John (deceased).
The couple are looking forward to the
first family wedding at the Receptions,
with the marriage of their daughter Han-
nah in March.
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