A Kaiapoi business owner and his companies have been fined $22,000 and ordered to apply for restrospective resource consents on three properties for unauthorised earthworks.
David Clemence, and two of his companies, Clemence Drilling Contractors Ltd and DC Aqua Properties Ltd, were sentenced on five charges of not complying with abatement notices from the Waimakariri District Council.
Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said the council wanted Clemence to apply for the retrospective resource consents, so that the work could be checked in case remedial work had to be done.
He said the wider public district plan should be followed and people should not go ahead and do the work themselves.
The Waimakariri District Council did not accept the report Clemence had provided to the court from a registered agricultural business consultant which said the land was better than before the earthworks, as no assessment of flood modelling around the area had been carried out, he said.
Defence counsel Craig Ruane said on the two properties in Tram Road the work was finished. The other property on Woodend Beach Road was the largest operation and is still a work in progress.
Judge Paul Kellar said Clemence and his companies did not comply with abatement notices, and used the land in a way that contravened the Waimakariri District Plan, by exceeding permitted levels of earthworks.
He said Clemence got topsoil from a developer who was subdividing land but closing down for Christmas. He wanted the soil removed before his staff started back at work again.
Clemence had the machinery to remove the soil, and took it to the sections to boost the quality and productivity of the land.
He was issued abatement notices from the council, but continued removing the topsoil thinking it would cause problems for the developer, and decided the work was compliant, Judge Kellar said.
The offending was deliberate and relatively serious, he said. Clemence knew the requirements for resource consents, but continued to do the work while waiting to see what the authorities would do about it.
He fined Clemence $17,000, Clemence Drilling $2500, DC Aqua Properties $2500, plus solicitors’ fees, and court costs.
Judge Kellar said Clemence had to make the restrospective resource consent applications, and 90 percent of the fines were awarded to the Waimakariri District Council.