$49,000 fines for illegal demolition dumping

June 20, 2014 | By More

Law books02Illegal dumping of Christchurch demolition waste on a Leeston farm has brought fines totalling $49,000 for Christchurch firm Pollard Contracting and its director Craig Pollard.

The company, known as Polcon, was fined $34,000 and Pollard was fined $15,000. Judge John Hassan said at the Christchurch District Court sentencing that he would allow the fines to be paid in instalments.

Pollard declined to comment to media after today’s sentencing on charges relating to the dumping of 68 loads of demolition waste on a farm owned by Oakleigh Innovation, and discharging contaminants into the air by burning the waste.

Oakleigh has already been fined $27,000.

Pollard said the dumping at the farm was done at the weekends because the work involved school sites and could only go on at the weekends when landfills were closed.

Judge Hassan said Pollard had showed a significant lack of care which demonstrated “delinquency in the management of your business”. He had a responsibility to make inquiries to ensure the business was operating lawfully. He was the primary instigator and driver of the offending.

The dumping over 17 months had not caused any detected contamination or effects on waterways, acquifers, plants or animals so far, and there was no evidence of complaints from neighbours.

It showed a continuing pattern of corner-cutting in earthquake demolition work. Demolition contractors had a stewardship responsibility, he said.

He noted that remedial work had since been done by Oakleigh, but Pollard had so far made no offer of any contribution towards that. Pollard and his firm had removed the burned waste to a lawful landfill at a cost of $23,000 since ECan’s involvement. This was an acknowledgement of what they were required to do all along.

Defence counsel Simon Clay and ECan prosecutor Vanessa Sugrue differed about the amount of the fine that should be imposed.

Miss Sugrue said the company’s accounts showed there was sufficient asset base to pay a fine at the level the court was likely to impose. The council sought a starting point of up to $90,000.

Mr Clay said it was not a case where it would be proper to “fine the company out of existence”. The company employed staff and it was important that it not be put at risk.

The company was able to pay a fine, but he asked that it be imposed in instalments of no more than $10,000 a year. He said the company had paid for the remains of the burnt waste to be moved to a lawful landfill as required. It had now appointed a manager to oversee issues including compliance.

He said it was accepted without reservation that there had been a lack of care, and that Pollard ought to have familiarised himself with what was required under the regulations.

However, Judge Hassan said he did not see lack of knowledge of the law in demolition waste disposal as a mitigating factor.

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