27 May 2013

Pit owner fined for dumping banned material

8:21 pm on 27 May 2013

The owner of a recycling pit that has been burning for almost two months on the outskirts of Christchurch has been fined $18,000 for dumping banned material.

Owaka Holdings Limited was sentenced on Monday on two charges: failing to comply with an enforcement order by depositing unjustified material; and failing to comply with an interim enforcement order by not engaging a surveyor to assess dumping in the pond on the site.

The Christchurch City Council's unit manager inspections and enforcement said it considers a breach of an interim enforcement order a serious issue.

Anne Columbus said depositing non-compliant material in the pond was not acceptable practice and Owaka Holdings Ltd deliberately did not meet the requirements of the interim order.

Ms Columbus said the council would continue to monitor the site.

A Christchurch residents' group believes fines need to be made economically unattractive to stop companies flouting environment rules.

Awatea Residents Association secretary Kay Stieller says the judge said Owaka Holdings was well aware of the terms of the orders it was supposed to be following.

"It is essential that there is careful compliance and the judge also said that there was a deliberate flouting of the orders.

"There needs to be a deterrent that makes non-compliance unattractive economically."

The recycling pit spontaneously combusted at the end of March and was left to burn until the Fire Service said work to put it out safely could begin on 8 May. The fire is expected to be out by the end of this week.