Today sees the result of the first of a series of Waitaki District Council prosecutions against local landowners for breaching the RMA and District Plan rules.
Willowburn Farms owner W McAughtrie, appeared in the Ōamaru District Court under the jurisdiction of the Environment Court, on a charge of clearing more than 5,000 square meters of indigenous vegetation on a 145 Ha block of land. This was in contravention of District Plan site development standard 220.127.116.11.
The offence occurred between 26 August 2018 and 30 August 2019 at 651 Twizel-Omarama Road, Willowburn.
This prosecution came about as a result of the Waitaki District Council's increased emphasis on appropriately implementing Council's Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement policies to help protect the unique environment of the Waitaki District.
Whilst education around landowners' responsibilities under the RMA and our operative District Plan is a key element of our Compliance and Enforcement Policy, this result shows the Waitaki District Council is prepared to take appropriate enforcement action when required.
Roger Cook, Council's Acting Heritage, Environment & Regulatory Group Manager urged landowners to contact Council's Planning team if they are planning any vegetation clearance or significant earthworks on their property. "Council would much rather work with landowners to achieve positive outcomes, than having to use enforcement tools for noncompliance", he said.