The dump, which often contains piles of foul-smelling material and a vast assortment of household and commercial rubbish, has been operating illegally for years, without attracting any interest from NES. Last year it was the focus of community controversy after a truckload books from Apii Nikao was dumped there.
In mid-April CINews took a photo of rubbish piled at the site and sent it to NES director Joseph Brider. On April 20, Brider emailed CINews and said NES, in partnership with the Ministry of Health – Public Health Department (PHD) had undertaken investigations at the Akaoa property.
“The NES and PHD will be issuing closure notices to the property owner and will be requiring the property owner to:
1. Cease using the property to dump, dispose, stockpile and burn waste;
2. Rehabilitate the site through the removal of non-biodegradable waste;
3. Fencing of the property to restrict public access to the site; and
4. Erect signage informing the public that dumping of waste at this site is prohibited.
“The NES with Public Health will continue to monitor this site to ensure the conditions of the closure notices are met,” Brider wrote.
However in June, CINews again visited the site, which was still covered in rubbish. No remedial work appeared to have been done on the site and there is nothing in the way of proper fencing or signs.
The newspaper asked Brider if he could tell CINews whether the NES was continuing to keep a close eye the dump and questioned whether inspectors had given the owner a timeframe in which to carry out the work they had ordered.
Brider subsequently got back to CINews and said the NES was beginning legal action against the dump operator. He asked the newspaper not to publish anything more about it until certain “processes” had been completed.
By then it was September and in response to an email from CINews several weeks later, Brider could only say that he had spoken with Crown Law.
“At this stage, all I can confirm is that NES is in the process of seeking advice from Crown Law. I hope that by next week we have more clarity on future options.”
More recently, Brider said Crown Law was still investigating the legal aspects of any action to be taken against the dump operator. He was unable to confirm how long that process would take.
Meanwhile, Brider says an amicable agreement has been made between NES, the Edgewater Resort and neighbouring property owners, following problems with resort workers burning plastic and rubber among other items at a legal and fenced-off dump across the road from the resort.