Firm fined $30k for dumping quake waste
A Canterbury company has been fined nearly $30,000 for illegally dumping earthquake waste.
Oakleigh Innovation and Pollard Contracting, and their respective directors, were charged with illegally disposing of demolition waste at a Leeston property south of Christchurch.
Charles Nimmo pleaded guilty on behalf of Oakleigh Innovation in the Christchurch District Court in April to three charges relating to breaching a District Plan rule, discharging contaminants into the air and discharging from an industry trade on the land.
He entered a guilty plea today on a fourth charge related to disposal of demolition waste on a farm property.
Charges against Nimmo personally were dropped.
Judge John Hassan ordered Oakleigh Innovation to pay a $27,000 fine after reducing it from a starting point of $50,000 for mitigating factors, including early guilty pleas.
He said Oakleigh Innovation had allowed about 68 truckloads of waste, including carpet, schoolbooks and timber, to be dumped on the property in 2012 and early 2013 as a favour to another company.
"Out of kindess rather than commercial return, you granted permission," he said. "Your naive trust is not an excuse."
When the buildup of waste became too much, Nimmo set it alight on two occasions without checking whether it was legal to do so.
"The lack of vigilance you showed is the most serious aspect of your offending," the judge said.
He said it was important to send a message to the community that landowners needed to be vigilant about what was being brought on to their properties to ensure they avoided becoming complicit in any offending.
Nimmo's lawyer, JM van der Wal, said Nimmo would never have given his permission to receiving the material if had known exactly what that would mean.
"He has been kicking himself daily. He was too trusting," he said.
Environment Canterbury lawyer Vanessa Sugrue accepted there was "extreme remorse" shown, but it was a "serious offence" that involved several loads of waste being taken to Nimmo's family farm.
"There was no system of monitoring or checking what was going to happen on this property," she said.
"It's necessary if someone asks you if they can dump [something on your property]."
Lawyer Simon Clay entered guilty pleas on behalf of Pollard Contracting and director Craig Pollard.
Charges against fellow director Helen Thomas were dropped.
Pollard and Pollard Contracting will be sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on June 20.