22 Jun 2021

Transmission Gully contractor convicted and fined $70,000

5:01 pm on 22 June 2021

The company in charge of building Transmission Gully has been convicted and fined $70,000 for unconsented earthworks and discharging sediment into the Belmont Regional Park in early 2019.

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Trucks working along the Transmission Gully. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

CPB HEB Joint Venture allowed sediment to enter two streams for almost a month and significant slips occurred that could have been avoided.

Greater Wellington Regional Council brought the four charges against CPB HEB, which was sentenced in the Wellington District Court today.

During sentencing, Judge Dwyer said the culpability of the contractor was very high and that significant slips and sidecasting occurred, which should have been avoided and remediated quickly.

He said the sentence reflected the potential effects on an environment with significant ecological and cultural values, and the need for deterrence and condemnation of offending.

In considering the severity of the sentence, Judge Dwyer noted the fact that nearly a month after work in the area had started, there were still no measures taken to prevent sediment from earthworks on steep slopes entering two streams.

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Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

He took into account a history of non-compliance with the consents for the project, including three almost identical previous incidents.

No discount was given for previous good behaviour and minimal discount was given for the guilty plea, given it took 18 months to occur.

The work occurred over a 1km stretch above a tributary of Duck Creek and similar work took place near Cannons Creek.

Greater Wellington Environmental Regulation team leader James Snowdon said the sediment ultimately ended up in the Pāuatahanui Inlet.

"It is really important to protect our streams from unauthorised sediment discharges.

"The work that led to this prosecution fell far below our expectations of an experienced commercial operator. Whilst this case has taken over two years to get through court - those who don't want to stick to the rules should take note that we will follow through with our cases and hold offenders to account."

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