Million tyre dumper no-show in court as company fined
A rogue Auckland businessman convicted for dumping up to a million tyres on his Huntly property did the same on his west Auckland property.
Former Waitakere City councillor and mayoral contender Ross Britten did not turn up to the Hamilton District Court this week where his company, Ross (Des) Britten Ltd, was fined $77,500.
It is believed he ran away to Australia last year after earlier being found guilty at trial in 2011 of dumping the tyres.
Over a six-year period, he used his 61ha property to dump the tyres which he collected from retail outlets.
The Waikato Regional Council discovered them on his Naike property in 2008.
Britten has previously been under fire for similar activity at his 13ha Swanson property in west Auckland.
In 1999, the Swanson Residents and Ratepayers' Association demanded a bylaw be passed making the stockpiling of tyres illegal after seeing a growing "tyre mountain" on Britten's property.
Britten told the community he wanted to build a 3km-long boundary fence around his property out of old tyres.
In 2005, a huge landslip at his property – where he was constructing a model railway and botanical garden – rekindled anger from the community about his activities.
The slip formed a 15m-long dam in the Swanson Stream, which the council had to clean up.
In 2008, there was another slip, drawing the wrath of mayor Bob Harvey, who believed the second clean up would cost the council "hundreds of thousands of dollars".
A year later, Waitakare deputy mayor – and now Auckland deputy mayor – Penny Hulse expressed frustration at not being able to stop Britten's activities.
About 20 years after Britten was first granted resource consent for his botanical gardens project, the property was instead littered with truckloads of tyres, building debris and soil.
She said the council sympathised with residents and their struggle. "Some of us in council feel like we have been hitting ourselves against a brick wall."