Demolition man claims approval to repair road

BUSINESSMAN Michael Hume Fletcher has told Byron Bay Local Court he had ‘verbal’ permission from a government employee to carry out roadworks on Raywards Lane, Skinners Shoot, where he lives and had been doing the road maintenance work for 10 years.

Fletcher is pleading not guilty to a series of charges imposed by Byron Shire Council that include using land as an unlawful waste facility; unlawful transporting/depositing of waste; failing to comply with a clean-up notice; polluting land; and failure to comply with a prevention notice.

In an ongoing hearing, the owner of Byron Bay Earthmoving gave evidence yesterday before Magistrate Nicholas Reimer denying the charges, including using building waste/rubble from the old Byron Bay Norco factory on Raywards Lane as road fill without authority.

During cross-examination by Ralph James for Byron Shire Council, he denied the suggestion that the reason he had not taken the building waste/rubble to the rubbish tip was to avoid paying the $4310 in fees the council had to then pay after removing the waste. At the time Mr Fletcher had a $123,000 contract to demolish the Norco site.

Mr Fletcher said he had tried to comply with a clean-up notice at his large rural property where he had stored dozens of motor vehicle batteries and other materials, including steel for recycling purposes.

But it was revealed some of the alleged ‘waste’ material he said he intended to use for recycling had been sitting there for six years.

The hearing is expected to conclude on December 23.



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