$127K fine for rubbish bank near stream
An embattled Auckland property developer has been ordered to pay up after depositing hazardous fill near a waterway.
The Environment Court has issued an interim costs decision directing Augustine Lau to pay $127,500 to Auckland Council.
The decision, dated September 4 and released on Friday, relates to a property at 88 Fairburn Rd, Otahuhu, where Lau created a steep bank of fill and rubbish close to a stream and the Tamaki Estuary.
The property’s owner, Chen Hong Co Ltd, and its sole director, Jiawen Mao, were named as co-respondents alongside Lau.
It is not the first time Lau has been fined over his developments.
In May, he was ordered to pay $90,000 court costs after erecting eight temporary houses in Flat Bush that flushed human faeces directly into a stream.
Environment Court judgments released in 2016 found Lau also subdivided a Mt Albert property, converted a garage into a ‘house’ and relocated houses in Paremoremo without resource consent.
Interim enforcement measures were first put in place at the Otahuhu property in September 2016, ordering earthworks to be stopped, the site to be fenced, and the fill to be covered.
In February, the Environment Court made a further series of enforcement orders, stating Lau and Mao had only complied ‘‘partially, late and unsatisfactorily’’ with the earlier judgment.
The council sought $134,964 in costs from the respondents to cover its legal fees, council officer time, and consultancy fees for engineers, an ecologist and a surveyor.
It said the respondents had a ‘‘flagrant disregard’’ for the Resource Management Act and it would be ‘‘inappropriate’’ to burden Auckland’s ratepayers with the costs of the proceedings.
Judge Brian Dwyer’s judgment said the earthworks at the Otahuhu site posed a danger to the public.
The respondents had given ‘‘no meaningful response’’ to the costs application, he said.
Judge Dwyer awarded costs of $127,500 to Auckland Council.
A final decision on any further costs would be made when the council submitted invoices related to the time spent by a council officer dealing with the case, he said.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Why not write to us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Augustine Lau performed illegal earthworks at this property in Otahuhu.