INDEPENDENT NEWS

Landscaping firm slips up with coastal activity

Published: Fri 13 Oct 2006 09:49 AM
Landscaping firm slips up with illegal coastal activity
October 12, 2006
Carrying out illegal work within the root zone of protected trees in the Coastal Conservation Area and failing to comply with an abatement notice has cost a North Shore City landscaping firm $20,000.
Contract Landscapes Ltd and their project manager, Peter Gallagher, pleaded guilty at Auckland District court to charges of carrying out building work in the Coastal Conservation Area without first obtaining resource consent.
The charges relate to work carried out at 8a Seacliffe Avenue, Takapuna late last year, when large retaining walls, an over height fence and decking had been put in place without council consent.
" Some of the work was close to the cliff edge, which is a particularly sensitive area and requires specific consent from the council,> "> says North Shore City> '> s compliance and monitoring team leader, David Frith.
" Postholes had been dug within the root zones of protected trees and these have already had a noticeable effect on the health of one large pohutukawa,> " says Mr Frith.
Work continued even after service of an abatement notice under the Resource Management Act 1991 requiring work to cease until a resource consent was obtained. Failure to comply with the notice can lead to two years imprisonment or fines up to $200,000 per offence, plus $20,000 per day for a continuing offence.
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> Environment Judge C.J. Thompson accepted guilty pleas on three charges and took an offer of $12,000 payment towards the council> '> s cost of prosecution into consideration when imposing sentence, which resulted in a total of $20,000 in fines and costs.
> "> The property owner, who was overseas at the time of the offences, has since been granted resource consents for the work to be carried out, but with conditions imposed to minimise adverse effects,> "> says Mr Frith.
> "> New building work in the coastal conservation area is required to go through the resource consent process to retain the amenity of the area. The protection of coastal vegetation is important to maintain the stability of coastal cliffs.
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> "> Owners of properties in coastal areas do need to recognise that they live in a particularly sensitive area and that rules have been put in place to protect the coastal environment that we all enjoy,> "> he says.
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> The council urges property owners to seek advice from the planning Help Desk or from our advisory planners before carrying out work on coastal properties.
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> For further information please contact Actionline on 486 8600 or visit the council> '> s website at www.northshorecity.govt.nz
Ends

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