Former owners of red-stickered Edgecumbe properties are happy demolition is about to begin.
Since the April 6 flood, 12 homes opposite the stopbank breach have sat largely as they were left when floodwaters from the Rangitaiki River eventually receded.
Vicky Richards, one of the 12 former homeowners, said the demolition represented closure.
"It's been a long time and we're very happy they'll soon be gone," Richards said.
She and her husband Joe had lived in their College Rd home for 23 years, brought up their children in it, and had run a community gym from their garage.
"There are memories but they're with us forever. It's time to move on and demolition of the homes will help us do that."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council bought all 12 of the properties earlier this year as part of its stopbank rebuild. On Monday a contractor was appointed to begin the demolition.
The council's project manager Peter Hay said large-scale works at the site would start after Christmas.
He said the council and contractor Shane Moore had been working with the landowners to allow them final visits or small blessings on the individual homes.
Richards said Moore had asked to have a sit-down meeting with homeowners individually.
"He asked us if we wanted to go through the homes again and said he would place personal items they come across during the demolition process somewhere accessible so we have the opportunity to look over them."
Moore has also placed screens in front of the homes which have, up until now, been visible behind a wire mesh fence. His actions have resulted in a heartfelt post by a resident on the Kia Kaha Edgecumbe page who wrote while everyone was aware of the destruction behind the scenes, not having to see it every day was appreciated.
The 12 red-stickered property owners had also been asked to give their input into what should happen on the land once the homes were removed.
"What we've suggested is largely what the community wanted, with a few little extras," Richards said. "It will be a recreational area but we do want people to know there was once homes there."
As the rebuild of Edgecumbe continues, the Flood Recovery team has sought help from the Canterbury Residential Advisory Service (RAS) that was established post-earthquake, to help residents with ongoing insurance claim concerns.
Flood Recovery communications manager Kay Boreham said about 30 residents have had support from the RAS advisors.
"We have also introduced a service to help people who have cash-settled with their insurance company, but were underinsured for the cost of repairing their homes," Boreham said.
She said the Recovery team, in collaboration with multiple Government agencies and project partners, had made significant progress over the past eight months, but the recovery was not yet over.
One of the most recent projects was a Secret Santa project that ensured flood-impacted children 13 and under had something under the Christmas tree. The regional council, Inland Revenue, council suppliers and individuals donated gifts or cash and the presents were given out over two days.
Whakatane District Recovery by the numbers – as at December 2017
-The April 6 flood resulted in 15 red-stickered (severely damaged) properties and 251 homes in Edgecumbe and 52 in other parts of the district requiring repair
-As at December 19, 145 homes able to be reoccupied (48 per cent)
-Navigator Service staff have contacted 300 residents and are providing ongoing assistance to 80 individuals and families
-MBIE have received 142 registrations for housing assistance and is currently providing temporary accommodation for 30 individuals or families
-The Whakatane Mayoral Fund has distributed $160,000 to 42 applicants
-Stage 1 of Liveable Homes project concluding. 17 homes rebuilt for people with no means to rebuild
-160 homes will receive free insulation