A Waiheke Island property owner has been fined $21,000 after cutting down native trees and building a house without resource consent.
Wayne Gilinsky pleaded guilty to two charges under the Resource Management Act, after he cut and removed indigenous trees and plants in a scheduled site of ecological significance and constructed a building exceeding the maximum height control at his property on the island in the Hauraki Gulf.
Judge Melanie Harland, when sentencing Gilinsky in the Auckland District Court, described the man's actions as "careless and reckless".
Auckland Council also welcomed the court's decision to fine Gilinsky $21,000 for the illegal construction at 303 Cowes Bay Rd.
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Auckland Council's manager of regulatory compliance Steve Pearce said the sentence reinforced the importance of complying with district plan rules.
"The ongoing effects of building without resource consent on sites of ecological significance can be significant, and may adversely affect the ecosystem and other environmental outcomes," he said.
"Generally speaking, we take a graduated approach to enforcement and will help people to comply where we can, such as by allowing time for people to make issues compliant or giving them the opportunity to apply for any consents and permits that might be necessary."
However, he said, if offences cause significant effects, or the offenders continue to ignore their requirements, the council will take enforcement action, including through the courts.
Pearce said Gilinsky's case served as a reminder to those wanting to build to consult with the council prior to commencing any building work, to ascertain if a consent is required.
"Anyone who wants to find out if their project requires a consent can visit an Auckland Council service centre to speak with a planner, or phone the council on 09 301 0101."