Landowner stumped by piles of de­bris

Christchurch Mail - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMMA DANGER­FIELD

‘‘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.

EMMA DANGER­FIELD/STUFF

Craig Ry­der is left stumped af­ter le­gal ef­forts to get rid of 15 truck­loads of root balls on his land.

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