News

Failing to restore mangroves and remove wall costs $30,000

DEVELOPER Ron Blyth has faced environment court again, this time copping a $30,000 fine after pleading to guilty to failing to comply with coastal protection orders.

The Maryborough developer's company Belela Pty Ltd did not restore the mangroves illegally removed from the banks of the Mary River and failed to remove a wall built on the site it planned to build a marina on between June 2011 and January 2012.

But Blyth is no stranger to environmental infringements.

In July 2011, he was fined $172,000, which has now been paid, for causing "irreparable damage to the eco-system" when he excavated 5m x 150m of mangroves to make way for his planned marina.

The developer also came under fire last year after bulldozing koala habitat at Tinana.

In court on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Stephen Courtney said Blyth's references spoke about his experience, but "he should have known better than to ignore or not act on coastal protection orders".

Defence barrister Steve Zillman said his client had no prior experience in marine development.

"It was always believed by my client that the building of the wall was in the plan ... and vital for the construction of the marina.

"Mr Zillman said the revetment wall was about $400,000 to construct and the entire marina project was worth about $3.15 million.

He said when the coastal protection notices were received, endeavours were made to comply with them and resolve matters.

"Endeavours to engage experts had been made."

Judge Samios said he took into account the previous fine when making his decision.

He also ruled the company had been genuine in its attempts to deal with the problems and accepted he had always sought out expert opinions.

Judge Samios said there was ongoing and lasting damage to the environment because the company's actions and the 2013 flood was made worse by the removal of the mangroves - but that had previously been dealt with in court .

Topics:  fine, mangroves, maryborough, maryborough district court



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