$20,000 in Fines for Illegal Gorge Earthworks

16 September 2010

A Wellington developer and a contractor have been fined $10,000 each in the District Court after pleading guilty to undertaking illegal earthworks on a hillside above the entrance to the Ngauranga Gorge.

Primeproperty Group Limited and Morepork Holdings (2004) Limited both earlier pleaded guilty to using a bulldozer to cut tracks on the hillside above Jarden Mile and the Hutt Road in contravention of the Resource Management Act. The prosecution had been pursued by Wellington City Council.

Last Friday 10 September, Judge Thompson convicted and fined the companies $10,000 each for the offence. Wellington City Council will receive 90% of the fines. 

The City Council's Development Planning and Compliance Manager, Warren Ulusele, today welcomed the fact the companies had been convicted and fined. "This sends a strong message to the development community that they cannot go ahead and start works like this without the proper approvals.

"Such approvals are obviously only designed to be given once the potential effects of earthworks have been examined and mitigated. This is all about maintaining things like hillside stability and avoiding inappropriate removal of vegetation."

Resource consent has since been granted for the earthworks undertaken on the Jarden Mile site. The resource consent process allowed the Council to gain more detailed information regarding the earthworks, eg geotechnical engineers report.

Mr Ulusele says the fines will be used to offset the costs associated with undertaking the prosecution.