Council to clear section

An Invercargill property owner will need to pay the council to tidy up his Avenal section. PHOTO:...
An Invercargill property owner will need to pay the council to tidy up his Avenal section. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH
An Invercargill man accused of thumbing his nose at authority will need to pay the council to clear his debris-ridden suburban property.

Callum Smith’s Avenal property was the subject of an Environment Court case, brought against him by the Invercargill City Council.

In 2019, Judge John Hassan ordered Smith to stop bringing on to and storing on the property any more inoperative vehicles and any building waste products.

By February 2020 he needed to remove these, clear all rubbish, rotted or rusting items on the property and clear overgrown vegetation, as well as spray the property with weed killer.

Last month, council representative M. Morris told Environment Court judge Prudence Steven, based in Christchurch, the state of the property was “offensive and objectionable” and was having an adverse effect on the environment.

He also said it was a major concern Smith had failed to achieve compliance with the 2019 order.

"[This] is a blatant case ... of the respondent thumbing his nose to the court’s authority."

Judge Steven found the ill-maintained site was having an adverse effect on the residential amenity of the neighbourhood.

"Unless the council is able to carry out the work required ... this state of affairs will persist for the foreseeable future."

During a progress visit in March last year, Smith explained to council staff he had been hampered by weather.

He was given another month.

An inspection was not possible due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and the next visits in July and October revealed no further progress.

A year on, council staff found the section had deteriorated — the warm summer season allowed for significant growth.

Judge Steven heard while Smith had spoken to a contractor, they were busy with other work and that access to the site over winter was an issue.

Her decision last month allowed the council to carry out the work Smith was ordered to complete.

The council was given permission to sell or dispose of any material salvaged throughout the process and recover costs from Smith.

Additional steps were made for an amended application to alleviate Smith’s concern that the council might remove items, perceived as waste, that were in fact of use to him.

The council was also to provide notice before entering the property.


How dare a council decree what method we use to eliminate "weeds" on our own property! We really need more poisons in our environment, don't we?

Except that was a court order, not a council order.
I dare say if he'd kept the place a little tidier, no such order would have been needed.
Prefer not using sprays myself... kills all the little seedlings I can use elsewhere.

This just shows you never truly own property in New Zealand.......