Instant fines for dumping rubbish in regional parks

People caught dumping rubbish in Canterbury's regional parks may now face an instant $750 fine.

Our regional park rangers are now warranted under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to issue fines to anyone found dumping rubbish in the parks.

Dumping of rubbish is costing ratepayers

This comes after we collected more than 62 tonnes of rubbish across the Waimakariri River and Ashley Rakahuri Regional Parks during the 2019-2020 financial year, costing ratepayers more than $152,000 to dispose of properly.

In addition to this, 98 vehicles were dumped in the parks during this period at a cost of about $40,000 to remove. Only 15 of these vehicles were taken care of by an insurance company or owner.

Parks and forests team leader James Page said the three regional parks across our region are for everyone to enjoy and explore.

“Unfortunately, some people aren’t treating these spaces respectfully and we are spending a significant amount of time and money removing dumped rubbish. This includes packaging, household and commercial waste, and vehicles.”

Page said it’s important that people are accountable for this behaviour and are aware that mistreating regional parks comes with consequences.

“We recommend taking rubbish to your local transfer or recycling station. It’s a lot cheaper than receiving a $750 fine.”

The fine process

Under the RMA, park rangers now have warrants to issue a fine to anyone caught dumping rubbish.

Page said alleged offenders will have 28 days to pay the infringement notice, and once it’s paid the notice will be published on our website for 12 months.

“We are also encouraging anyone who sees an incident to simply use the Snap Send Solve app and send us a photo from your mobile phone.”

'Let’s keep it tidy' a friendly reminder

To raise awareness about keeping the parks clean and enjoyable for everyone, the regional parks team has started a social media campaign reminding Cantabrians, ‘Let’s keep it tidy’.

Page said the images and messages that will be posted on the Regional Parks Facebook page over the next month will serve as a reminder about the sort of items that aren’t welcome in the parks.

“Not only do we want to address the obvious, like dumping toxic waste, but other things people are doing that they may not realise contributes to the wider issue.

“This includes picking up dog poo in plastic bags, but then not disposing of the bag in a bin or taking it home.”

Canterbury’s regional parks are on the shores of Lake Tekapo and the banks of the Waimakariri and Ashley Rakahuri Rivers, and are all set in unique natural environments.

“Rubbish doesn’t just look bad, it also has a negative impact on the health and ecosystems of these beautiful spaces,” Page said. 

Visit our 'Let's keep it tidy' page for more information on rubbish in our regional parks.