'The Community' vs Adrian Chisholm
Sludgegate Update, Day 12
6pm, Wednesday, 6 December 2000
Council's legal team made their opening submissions in defence of their actions in the Sludgegate saga, and in particular the decision to build an enormous sludge dump on Adrian Chisholm's boundary. They told the court that "we stand by the decision, however and whoever made it . Chisholm got a bit jumpy [but] Adrian Chisholm wasn't the only person on the island; this decision was good for the community as a whole." "Sure, it was probably a bit rough on Mr Chisholm who was doing a development next door, but it was only a temporary site."
And that's it; that's the whole essence of this case.
What council is saying, in the view of this reporter, is that Adrian Chisholm's property rights had no protection in law, so there was no reason for his interests to be considered when deciding whether or not to dump sludge on his boundary. If his interests didn't fit those of the community - as defined by council - then his interests must suffer. And if a sludge dump the size of two football fields is to be built along Chisholm's boundary then he should simply believe the council when they say it is temporary, even if the sludge dump plans record an "emergency/reserve site," and also explicitly delineates a "summer only site," a "winter only site," and a "year round site" - what in fact an Environment Court Judge called "a long standing solution to a long standing problem."
Those who consider that the RMA does protect property rights might like to consider that it offers Adrian Chisholm no protection whatsoever.
The council case continues tomorrow, with Gordon Hodson continuing under cross examination. This reporter must also apologise for an error in yesterday's report. It is not in fact alleged that Faye Storer called Adrian Chisholm "evil," but Judy Voullaire. Both are expected to be in the witness box tomorrow.
With council beginning their defence today, Chisholm's team has now been invited by Justice Chambers to clarify their pleadings by tomorrow morning. Also tomorrow morning, Justice Williams will be hearing an application for leave to have the Court of Appeal consider having the so-called privileged document admitted to the case. Watch this space.
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