Quake waste dumping an 'emerging trend'

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 16:21 29/07/2014

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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A judge has denounced a post-quake trend of illegal waste dumping in the demolition industry and fined a contractor $33,000.

Aaron Roy Cooper has been fined more than $33,750 for illegally burying 30 truck loads of earthquake demolition waste.

Cooper entered two guilty pleas in the Christchurch District Court in April to the deconstruction and burial of residential buildings at a Christchurch site.

He was a shareholder in the company Tom Thumb Limited, which was struck off this year.

Judge Jane Borthwick said Cooper had been new the demolition industry and had provided inadequate cost quotes to customers.

''This is an emerging trend in the demolition industry post-quake,'' she said.

''There is a need to strongly denounce this offending and deter you and others from this.''

Cooper's lawyer, Richard Peters, said Cooper's involvement was simply to take the digger there and leave the staff to work, but his client accepted responsibility as it happened on his watch.

In her sentencing, Borthwick said she understood Cooper knew some of the waste material had been buried, but was unaware of the extent.

''If not deliberate, I find it to have occurred as a real want of care.''

Environment Canterbury lawyer Vanessa Sugrue described Cooper's actions as ''highly deliberate''.

''While he says it was his staff and he accepts responsibility, he is liable for the acts of the people that did the demolition under his direction.''

She said his actions were driven by financial gain, and were due to his lack of experience in the industry.

''This is a pattern that we are seeing where people get a couple of trucks and a digger and they can't deal with the waste.''

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- The Press

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