Man's dispute with council resolved

By Imran Ali

Whangarei District Council has apologised to Brian May and made a confidential settlement. PHOTO/FILE
Whangarei District Council has apologised to Brian May and made a confidential settlement. PHOTO/FILE

A businessman and the Whangarei District Council have resolved their long-standing dispute through a court-mediated confidential settlement.

Brian May, owner of Magic Tyres and Mags, last week received a written acknowledgement signed by the council's chief executive Rob Forlong, who confirmed the matter had come to an end. The dispute was over the council's seizure of Mr May's truck, now worth $1500, and two signs in January 2013 from outside his former business premises on Okara Dr for displaying advertising signs the council said breached its bylaws.

Mr May challenged the seizure and in June 2014 Judge Keith de Ridder ruled the council had seized the truck on wrongful grounds. The judge dismissed the council's application for an order to dispose of the truck and recoup costs, which then stood at $3270.

The truck was returned to Mr May but he claimed it was "rotten" and of no use to him after being stored outside. Last November, he filed papers in court seeking nearly $9000 for his truck, $10,000 in general damages, $414 for the seized signs, plus interest and costs from the council, Environmental Northland and Tow Team Ltd.

Mr Forlong admitted the truck and signs were seized under an incorrect provision of the bylaw. "I regret that [the council] did not handle the matter differently. The council is happy that it has now resolved the matter ... " he wrote.

- Northern Advocate

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