23 Oct 2008

Drainage contractor fined for damage to wetland

6:27 am on 23 October 2008

A North Otago contractor and his company have been fined in the Environment Court after damaging a wetland as a result of drainage work on a farm being converted to dairying.

Canterbury Regional Council prosecuted Mervyn James McCabe and his company North Otago Ditching & Baling, after it laid a 2km drain along the edge of the Buscott Farm property last year.

As well as clearing water from the farmland, it also drained areas of nearby DOC wetland and lowered the water level in the Ben Omar Swamp next door.

The landowners had a general compliance certificate from Waitaki District Council for the conversion and drainage work, but did not have resource consent from Canterbury Regional Council.

The contractor said he did not mean to damage the wetland, and has agreed to back-fill the drain to restore it

He and his company have been fined $15,000 and ordered to pay more than $4000 in costs.