$127K fine for rub­bish bank near stream

Manukau Courier - - IN BUSINESS - ANNA LOREN

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.

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CHRIS MCKEEN/STUFF

Au­gus­tine Lau per­formed il­le­gal earth­works at this prop­erty in Otahuhu.

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