A Kippenduff land owner has been fined $36,000 for allowing illegal doof parties to be held on two of his properties, 58kms south-west of Casino, in May 2014 and July last year.
In handing down his decision in the Casino Local Court on Wednesday, Magistrate David Heilpern said it was necessary to send a clear message that contravention of orders was a serious matter which would be “punished severely by the courts”.
The case dates back to 2 May 2014 when Richmond Valley Council issued Kevin Lindsay Jenner with a preventative action notice under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act for holding a music festival without consent at 302 Brewers Road Kippenduff in May 2014.
This notice applied to all land owned by Mr Jenner in the Kippenduff area.
Mr Jenner failed to comply with this notice and 14 months later allowed another unapproved party to be held this time on his Seery Road property, resulting in a second penalty notice being issued.
The council’s acting general manager Vaughan Macdonald said organisers who thumbed their noses at the law would be prosecuted.
Mr Macdonald said Richmond Valley Council supported events with appropriate approvals, which did not unduly impact the local community.
He said if an event was held without a required planning approval, legal action may take place against both the landowner and the event organiser.
‘Council is not against these types of parties,’ Mr Macdonald said.
‘Last year we approved Rabbits Eat Lettuce, which allows the organisers to hold dance parties because they went through the proper channels.’
Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett said he hoped the fines acted as a deterrent to all landowners considering holding illegal events on their properties.
Cr Bennett said planning laws were in place for a reason – to provide important community safeguards.
‘I don’t think it is asking too much for organisers of such events to fill out a bit of paperwork to ensure peace of mind for all concerned, particularly the police and neighbours,’ he said.
Cr Bennett said it was worth noting the court had significantly increased the penalty to $36,000, plus $3000 in costs, from the original $5500 imposed by Council.
‘This is not about being killjoys,’ he said.
‘Our sole concern is to protect our community, and prevent harm to the local environment.’