A MARKET gardener has been fined $22,000 for illegally clearing 7500sqm of native vegetation at a property in Carabooda.
On Friday, April 6 the Department of Water and Environment Regulation (DWER) said Michele Monte of Hocking had been fined $22,000 and ordered to pay $2000 in costs by the Joondalup Magistrates Court after he cleared the land without seeking required approvals from the department.
DWER compliance and enforcement executive director Stuart Cowie said a retrospective application to clear the land was also refused as the native vegetation cleared was habitat to native fauna – with the clearing having potential to impact a threatened ecological community.
“The conviction marks the second for Mr Monte who was found guilty of a similar offence in 2012 and fined $15,000,’’ he said.
Mr Cowie said the court outcome was appropriate and sent a strong message against illegal clearing.
“Mr Monte willfully and deliberately cleared vegetation for a commercial purpose, knowing that he was not permitted to do so,” he said
“The department is committed to ensuring clearing is done legally, and in line with appropriate regulations, and will continue to take action when appropriate against those with disregard for the law.”
On Friday the North Coast Times reported Mr Monte disagreed with the conviction 100 per cent.
The City of Wanneroo’s State of the Wanneroo Environment part 11 (2014) document said 139ha of mapped native vegetation had been included within local reserves, being zoned for parks and recreation (local scheme reserves) under the city’s district planning scheme No 2 (DPS2).
It also said 7571ha of mapped native vegetation had been included within regional reserves, being zoned for regional parks and recreation under DPS2 (WALGA, 2008).
The document said of the 3245ha of known threatened ecological communities (TEC), 90 percent (2918ha) was protected within local or regional reserves.
“Land within rural zones is available for small to larger scale agricultural enterprises and represents the land available to provide food and resources for our community,’’ the document said.
“Within the city, market gardens are an example of productive horticultural uses.’’
Out of a total 11770ha the rural resource zone made up 4050ha, general rural 5832ha, special rural 1394ha and rural community made up 494ha.