Council hopes prosecution will deter others from damaging native trees
By Alan Tristram
The Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has replied to Cr K Gurunathan (and others) in this way:
“As the case is before the courts (hearing scheduled for later this month) Council is constrained by what it can say. However, CEO, Pat Dougherty says:
‘Council does not pursue prosecutions lightly but after thoroughly investigating this case we felt was it was necessary to bring a prosecution under the Resource Management Act against Mr & Mrs Standen, their neighbours and a tree contractor who carried out extensive work on the two properties. It is hoped this action will serve as a deterrent to others.
“Council has apologised for any distress caused to the Standens during the course of the investigation. A police officer did accompany a council officer to the couple’s property but left after the Standens were cooperative and did not challenge right of access. The search warrant was never executed.
“Council has absolutely no intention of seeking anything like the maximum penalties the law provides. Because the case is before the courts, we will not be making any further comment at this stage.
“As to the other matters raised by Cr Gurunathan regarding the expressway and Collmog Bridge. Council has consistently advocated through the series of expressway hearings to minimise the damage to native bush. Where it has not been possible to avoid damage, then we have pushed for significant offset plantings.
“The Collmog Bridge issue (in the Otaki Gorge) involves a completely different set of circumstances and is currently being dealt with under the Building Act.”