Bella Vista homeowners whose lives have been thrown into turmoil are disappointed they were not given a say on the scope of the independent investigation into the saga.

Details of the shape of the independent investigation that led to 21 Bella Vista homes in The Lakes being evacuated in March were released by the Tauranga City Council yesterday.

The investigation into the council's role would focus primarily on matters relating to defects reported in Bella Vista properties in Lakes Boulevard and Aneta Way, and the reasons the dangerous or affected building notices were issued.

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The details were revealed today in two screenshots that the council released from the letter of engagement to the man leading the investigation, former high court judge Paul Heath, QC.

The council released the screenshots in response to official information requests for the terms of reference of the investigation.

According to the letter, Heath could look into whether the council did a competent job of managing and monitoring the development process - from the subdividing through to issuing of code compliance certificates to some properties which the council later said did not comply with the Building Code.

It could include the council's handling of consent applications and decisions, site monitoring and compliance checks, assessments of the buildings, and inspections.

Heath's investigation had begun and he has been asked to present his findings to a council meeting on June 6.

It would be used to help the council decide the level of assistance it could provide to the 21 property owners.

Bella Vista homeowner Andre Stewart responded yesterday that he had not had a chance to dig too deeply into the report in order to fully understand its contents.

However, he was disappointed that homeowners were not given a say in the scope and procedures of the inquiry.


''It does not feel independent due to the fact that we were told what would happen - rather than giving us options.''

He still believed that appointing an investigator from outside New Zealand would have been truly independent.

''I am disappointed that once again us homeowners have been told how it is rather than how we will do it together ... they should have said 'Here are the options, what do you think','' Stewart said.

Another Bella Vista homeowner, Jenny Coffey, said yesterday that she had not sat down and digested the terms of reference.

Her initial reaction was that it was disappointing that nothing had been discussed with homeowners prior to council releasing the report.

''We would have loved to be included in the discussions on who was appointed.''

A Bella Vista resident forced out of his home, Tony Mann, was likewise unable to comment yesterday because he had been too busy moving house to fully understand the report.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the council just wanted to "get to the bottom of it".

"It is hard to satisfy everybody and we are doing the best we can in a difficult situation," he said.

Additional reporting: Samantha Motion