‘Council failing to protect local environment’

One of the key photos which shows the damage to the stream. Councillor Sharon Stewart and Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown view it as “deliberate environmental damage which has been deliberately undertaken by the developer”. Photo supplied

The Auckland Council’s refusal to fine or prosecute a local developer for the illegal alteration of a stream between Cheriton Road and Colmar Road sends a bad message to developers and will no doubt result in further breaches of consent conditions, say Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga, and Sharon Stewart, Howick Ward Councillor.

“When several residents in the area first raised their concerns with me about the illegal alteration of a local stream, Sharon Stewart and I took it straight to the Mayor to find out what action the Council would take,” says Brown.

“His response, and that of the Council officers responsible for enforcing the rules, has left much to be desired as the only action taken so far is the issuing of an abatement notice. Despite the Council admitting the developer’s consent did not allow them to undertake the work they did around the stream, they have let them off the hook with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.”

“This simply isn’t good enough, and it sends the wrong message to developers around Auckland that if you deliberately breach the conditions of your consent you really have nothing to worry about.”

Councillor Stewart says if the Auckland Council is serious about protecting the environment then one of the first things they should be doing is enforcing the rules when they are broken.

“There has been a clear breach of consent by the developers on Cheriton Road that has resulted in damage to a local stream and the surrounding area. This has caused flooding to occur on the adjacent walkway, making it inaccessible to locals.”

“How can our communities feel confidence in their Council to fulfil their responsibilities as the local authority if they refuse to punish those who break the rules?”

“The entire reason we have a consents process is to ensure that developers and builders take care in their work and do not damage our environment or neighbouring property, and appropriate penalties exist in order to deter them from doing otherwise.”

“I urge the Council to reconsider their decision not to take further action so that other dodgy developers don’t take advantage of weak enforcement and do other, potentially irreversible harm to our beautiful city.”

Auckland Council has been contacted for a reply.