A Southland jet boating company has been fined $3562 after admitting running paid trips on the Waiau River at Tuatapere without consent.
Environment Court Judge Melanie Harland handed down the sentence to Waiau Jet Tours in Invercargill yesterday.
The Southland District Council summary of facts says the council received complaints that Waiau Jet Tours provided jet boat rides on the Waiau River during the New Year's Day sports gala.
It was charging adults $30 each and children $15 for the 30-minute rides. The company did not have a resource consent for the acti-vity.
The court heard that company director Murray Dowling had previously held a resource consent but it had expired in 2009.
He had asked another person to organise the new consent, with Judge Harland saying that person had let the company down by not following through with the job.
But the judge also said she found it extremely surprising that Mr Dowling, who had previous experience of resource consent applications, had not checked to see if the consent had been obtained.
Despite a Southland District Council letter to the company saying enforcement action would be taken if it operated the jet boat tours without consent, the company said it had mistakenly assumed the operation was able to continue provided the consent application was filed but not obtained.
The judge accepted the offending was at the minor end of the scale but said the court took breaches of district plan rules seriously, as they were a requirement of the law.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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