Auckland District Court has imposed significant fines in relation to unlawful earthworks at a site in Wainui.
The prosecution was brought before the court by Auckland Council investigators.
In a reserved decision last month, Dairy Flat company Efficient Bobcats was fined $32,400 for failing to install appropriate sediment controls for the duration of the earthworks and for breaching an Abatement Notice on a property at 88-90 Adams Road in Wainui, between October 23, 2019 and February 20, 2020.
Judge Melinda Dickey found the company ignored Council directions and the Abatement Notices, and was “highly careless” in its offending.
In its defence regarding work carrying on in breach of the Abatement Notices, the company claimed weather and health and safety considerations but this was not accepted.
Judge Dickey went on to say “if Abatement Notices can be ignored, their effectiveness is blunted”.
Landowner Jonathan Climo was fined a further $24,500 for permitting the reclamation of a stream at his property and permitting earthworks in breach of the requirement to install appropriate sediment controls.
Judge Dickey said Climo was aware of the Council’s concerns as far back as 2017. “Engaging contractors to assist did not absolve him of responsibility, particularly as he was alerted to the issues on several occasions,” she said.
Factoring in potential and cumulative effects, the Court assessed the environmental effects as “moderately adverse” for both the lack of sediment controls and the reclamation of the stream.
Council’s compliance and investigations manager, Kerri Fergusson, said the number of illegal earthworks undertaken was of concern, as many of them impacted local streams and rivers.
“We’re calling for greater diligence from anyone undertaking any scale of earthmoving to make sure they have the consents in place and know the regulations, as this behaviour will not be condoned or ignored,” Fergusson said.
Efficient Bobcats was approached for comment.