Council acts to protect environmentally sensitive land

Council acts to protect environmentally sensitive land

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Penrith City Council has successfully prosecuted a Kemps Creek woman who unlawfully constructed a commercial truck depot on a rural property.

Penrith Local Court convicted the defendant and imposed fines totalling $70,000 for undertaking industrial activities on a property zoned RU4: Rural Production and E2: Environmental Conservation.

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said that Council is proactive in holding people accountable for unlawful commercial and industrial activities, which often have detrimental effects on the environment and the wider community. 

“All of us should be doing the right thing by our neighbours, and the right thing by the environment,” Cr Fowler said.

“While the people of Penrith City are keen for new economic opportunities and jobs, these must take place within appropriate areas. Heavy truck traffic is not necessarily suitable for a residential or ecologically-sensitive area,” Cr Fowler said.

In January 2019, Council officers observed that a large concrete slab was being constructed at a rural property on Mamre Road in Kemps Creek, and that a large truck depot had begun to operate. The scale of the illegal works concerned Council officers, as it was not a home business, but a large-scale commercial development in a rural area. 

Legal proceedings were  commenced in Penrith Local Court,  with four charges against the property owner, who pleaded guilty to each charge.

On 18 June 2020, the matter came before Penrith Local Court, where the magistrate was highly critical of the defendant and the unlawful actions of operating a prohibited commercial activity on environmentally sensitive rural land. The Court convicted the defendant and imposed fines totaling $70,000, awarded professional costs of $5,000 and Court fees of $97.00. The defendant has since appealed against the severity of the fines to the Land and Environment Court.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 4 August 2020.