Wetland accessway building brings fines

By Peter de Graaf

1 comment
A developer and a contractor have been fined for illegally building this accessway across a Bay of Islands wetland. The fill has since been removed.
A developer and a contractor have been fined for illegally building this accessway across a Bay of Islands wetland. The fill has since been removed.

A Bay of Islands conservation group is applauding the fines handed out to a developer and contractor for dumping fill in a wetland reserve.

In April a developer working on house sites on Waimangaro Rd, between Paihia and Opua, used an estimated 10-15cu m of fill to create an accessway across a wetland.

The area is a public reserve but even if it was private land anyone wanting to modify an indigenous wetland needs to get a Northland Regional Council consent first.

The developer was given until 5pm on April 29 to remove the fill.

Regional council regulatory services manager Colin Dall said an officer with expertise in wetland ecosystems assessed the damage after the developer removed the soil.

Significant adverse effects had been avoided because of the prompt removal of the fill, which meant the wetland did not have to be replanted.

Mr Dall said the developer and the earthworks contractor were each issued with an infringement notice for illegally discharging a contaminant (soil) onto land in circumstances which could have caused the soil to enter Waimangaro Creek. Each notice carried a fine of
$750.

Brad Windust, of the conservation group Bay Bush Action, applauded the council for its quick action when the dumped fill was reported in April.

"It's great to see the council doing its job and upholding the laws that have been put in place to protect our wetlands," he said.

Mr Windust had been back to check the wetland and agreed that serious damage had been averted because the council had ordered immediate removal of the fill.

The wetland was small but was home to native plants and birds such as the swamp maire, banded rail, bittern and fern birds. Kiwi also lived in the area.

Part of the accessway crossed a road reserve so permission would have been required from the Far North District Council as well.

- Northern Advocate

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