Landowner stumped by piles of debris
‘‘I know City Care were duped but they need to sort it out.’’
A North Canterbury landowner who had 15 truckloads of material illegally dumped on his property has found himself locked in a seemingly never-ending dispute to get the site cleared up.
Craig Ryder owned two forestry blocks near Oxford until they both blew down in high winds. He planned to sell the logs for $270,000 and was in discussion with the owner of a firewood business about a lease option on the land, however no agreement had been finalised.
When City Care trucks began to appear and dump material, Ryder became concerned. About 15 truckloads were dumped at the site over a week in July 2015, the material including tree roots, wire, gravel, steel, timber and noxious weeds.
‘‘The next time I came up I saw trucks coming and going again so I spoke to one of the drivers who told me my wife said he could dump there. I told him I don’t have a wife.’’
As it transpired, the wife in question was the potential lessee’s wife, who worked for City Care at the time and who had apparently instructed the trucks to dump the waste there.
‘‘I rang [the firewood business owner] and asked him to stop the trucks. He promised the next lot would be logs, but they weren’t.’’
Ryder spoke to one of the truck drivers who told him he had been offered $1,000 to dump stuff on his Belfast property, however he had turned down the offer because of the possibility of contamination. Despite his protestations, the trucks continued to dump, and Ryder was forced to issue trespass warnings. All this happened two years ago, yet Ryder still faces an uphill battle to get the material removed and the site cleared up.
‘‘I am concerned about what might be in it — with all those root balls the contamination could be affecting the aquifer. It can only be dumped at Kate Valley now, a process which would cost in excess of $300,000.’’
Ryder said his main beef was with City Care who failed to run a title search before dumping on his land and had flouted the Litter Act as well as outdoor burning rules, as it was clear the waste was going to be burned.
‘‘I know City Care were duped but they need to sort it out because at the moment I can’t sell or subdivide the land.’’
City Care is looking into the matter.
Craig Ryder is left stumped after legal efforts to get rid of 15 truckloads of root balls on his land.