A new investigation into Tauranga City Council's building inspection team in the wake of the Bella Vista Homes saga is expected to provide answers "warts and all".

The investigation begins this week and will be headed by retired judge Graeme Colgan.

The council is already being investigated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment after 21 Bella Vista homeowners were urgently evacuated in March. An incoming storm prompted safety fears for the structural integrity of the properties, despite approval by building inspectors.

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"We want to find out why," Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless told the Bay of Plenty Times today.

"We know the 'how things happened' but we want to know why. That's the next step in the process."

For Brownless, the council investigation came as some relief that "questions are finally going to be asked in a proper forum".

Brownless said he would have preferred the investigation started much earlier but the council's first priority was taking care of the affected residents.

"We've made what we think is a reasonable offer and trying to do right by them. They may, or may not, agree."

Brownless said he wanted an investigation "right from the beginning" but rules and regulations also stifled progress.

"I've always said I want to know what happened and why - warts and all. I would say all the councillors would feel the same."

The council wanted to learn from the investigation to ensure the Bella Vista saga would not happen again, he said.

Andre Stewart says the entire dealings surrouding the fallout of the Bella Vista saga have been a mess. Photo/file
Andre Stewart says the entire dealings surrouding the fallout of the Bella Vista saga have been a mess. Photo/file

"We are facing up to it. I want to know exactly what happened and hopefully, between MBIE and our own investigation, we will find it."

The council is already facing one lawsuit and the threat of another from homeowners who have rejected its initial offer to buy their homes at cost. Last week the council made another offer to homeowners which was rejected. Negotiations continue.

Meanwhile, Ron McDiarmid and wife Sarah will join fellow affected homeowners Lee and Denese Konowe in their first day of court in their legal fight against the council next week.

McDiarmid said yesterday the new investigation seemed to be too little, too late.

"Obviously, we don't want for this to happen again. Nobody should go through what we went through, so it's a good thing in that respect. But this should have been done a long time ago. It has been eight months since we were evacuated. And eight months down the line, these things could still be happening," McDiarmid said.

"It just seems like investigation after investigation after investigation."

Affected homeowner Andre Stewart said it was hard to know what the new investigation would mean for them.

"You can look at it as 'a cover-up' or 'the Mayor is doing the right thing to handle this the way it should be'.

"To me, it's a big mess."

The council investigation is expected to be completed by Christmas. It is not yet clear what the expected cost of the investigation will be but the council's insurers have been notified.

The MBIE investigation is expected to be done in November.

Bella Vista homeowners - "We're still here"

Evacuated Bella Vista homeowners Denese and Lee Konowe and Sarah and Ron McDiarmid, pictured outside the Konowes' former home in Aneta Way. The four are taking TCC to court. Photo/file
Evacuated Bella Vista homeowners Denese and Lee Konowe and Sarah and Ron McDiarmid, pictured outside the Konowes' former home in Aneta Way. The four are taking TCC to court. Photo/file

Ron McDiarmid has a fight on his hands, and he wants to make sure everyone knows about it.

The Bella Vista homeowner who was among the 21 evacuated from their properties in March is taking Tauranga City Council to court. Their first day is next week.

But McDiarmid, who is joined by Lee and Denese Konowe in his court case, is part of a wider movement this week.

He and other homeowners will rally together at the council's Willow St offices on Friday to remind the council, and community, they have not gone anywhere. He was reluctant to label the gathering a protest but there was a clear message homeowners wanted to communicate as visibly as they could.

"The council, it just seems there's just delay after delay after delay and during all of that our public support is diminishing. We want to get public support back and show the public we are still here and these things still haven't been dealt with."

The McDiarmids' and Konowes' upcoming court case limits what either of them can say but McDiarmid said they were disappointed there hadn't been a swifter resolution for all parties.

The unravelling of the Bella Vista story

November 30, 2017 - Bella Vista Homes went into voluntary liquidation, leaving behind unfinished houses and millions of dollars in outstanding debts to creditors.
March 9, 2018 - Tauranga City Council orders emergency evacuation of 21 Bella Vista houses at The Lakes.
June 6, 2018 - Tauranga councillors voted in principle to buy the 21 homes.
July 26, 2018 - The council makes an offer, which is rejected.
August 1, 2018 - A group of 19 Bella Vista homeowners file legal proceedings against the council.
August 17, 2018 - The council files charges in court against parties involved in the failed Bella Vista Homes development at The Lakes.
September 3, 2018 - The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announces its investigation into the failed Bella Vista Homes development.
October 10, 2018 - The council announces its own investigation.