More Bella Vista homeowners are considering joining a class action against the city council in the wake of this week's buyout offer.

Auckland QC David Heaney, an experienced local authority litigation lawyer, filed a class action on behalf of Bella Vista residents in late May.

Tauranga City Council was served with the legal proceedings on June 1, and the class-action lawsuit is now due to have its first court conference.

So far only two of the 21 Bella Vista households are named in the proceedings.


But yesterday Heaney confirmed to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that more residents were now considering joining.

When asked if there had been any correspondence between him and the other residents or their lawyer about joining the class action in the past week, Heaney said: "Yeah, they're thinking about it, and they're having a meeting ... I think to make a decision on that."

The other 19 Bella Vista homeowners are represented by Tauranga barrister Nathan Smith.

Smith told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend yesterday that there was no update at the moment, "but there probably will be early next week".

He said he was in discussions with his clients.

Asked specifically about the class action and the filing of legal proceedings, Smith said: "There will be an update about that early next week".

One of the 19 homeowners confirmed last night that joining the class action had been discussed this week by the group, as well as other possible options.

However, the homeowner stressed that no decision had been finalised yet.

The council this week agreed to make offers to buy the 21 Bella Vista properties at The Lakes – but not at the market value homeowners wanted.

The offer was based on the price homeowners paid for their houses plus expenses and on the advice of what would constitute fair compensation from retired Court of Appeal judge Rhys Harrison QC.

Bella Vista homeowners said they felt "insulted" and "heartbroken" by the offer and did not rule out taking legal action.

Heaney said yesterday that his two clients were proceeding as planned with their class action against the council.

"They thought the offer was derisory."

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless estimated the council offer would cost more than $10 million when interviewed on Newstalk ZB this week.

However, council chief executive Garry Poole refuses to firm up that estimation or provide more detail, saying: "We are not able provide an accurate estimate because we haven't yet been provided with all the necessary information."

He said yesterday that the negotiations with homeowners were confidential.

"It would not be appropriate for us to provide any further comment in relation to these matters."

That was his emailed response when asked how much in expenses the homeowners were getting, what the expenses included, and whether emotional harm was part of it.

Poole had the same reply when asked by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend whether the council had received any response or correspondence from the residents' lawyers since the offer was made.

In regards to the class action, Poole said the council had no knowledge about what Bella Vista owners were considering or proposing to do.

"It would not be appropriate for us to provide any further comment in relation to these matters."

Former Bella Vista director served, via newspaper ad

The former director of Bella Vista Homes has been served with court documents, via a newspaper public notice.

Bunnings placed the public notice in yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times, stating it had filed court proceedings against Cancian, whose whereabouts were not known.

The hardware chain stated it was serving Cancian with court documents, via the public notice.

Tauranga District Court made an order for substituted service, instead of personal service of court documents, "approving service to be affected by advertising on one occasion in the Public Notices section of the Bay of Plenty Times newspaper".

It stated Cancian was required to file in the registry of the court within 25 working days a statement of defence and the case could lead to a hearing and possibly a trial.

The notice asked anyone knowing the whereabouts of Cancian to bring his attention to the notice.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend yesterday attempted to contact the solicitor acting for Bunnings Limited, Catherine Louise Waugh.

It also attempted to contact Cancian for comment.

A public notice in yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times, serving former Bella Vista Homes director Danny Cancian.
A public notice in yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times, serving former Bella Vista Homes director Danny Cancian.

Read more:

Big Read: The Bella Vista Homes nightmare
Bella Vista report: $4 million owed - but just $28 in the bank
Tauranga City Council spent $1.6 million dealing with Bella Vista Homes
$1.5m Bella Vista payment under investigation
Bella Vista Homes saga: Liquidator investigates company's transactions
Guards posted at homes of two Tauranga City Council staff members