Next week signals six months since floodwaters burst through a wall and caused the evacuation of an entire town.

Edgecumbe remains in various stages of repair. Some owners have settled with insurance companies, some are still wrangling, some have just started drying out their homes while others have been fortunate enough to have completed the job and moved back in.

The Whakatane Recovery Team continues to oversee the rebuild.

Recovery Team communications manager Kay Boreham said a collaborative meeting tomorrow would provide a more accurate snapshot but using current tracking methods, about 20 families from flood-affected homes had been able to move home.


"We do have a number of ways to track the families who have moved back home although not all repairs have to be consented or notice given," Mrs Boreham said. "We can monitor people through the consent process and through the Liveable Homes project, but we are mindful some Edgecumbe families may have been able to return to their homes and we are not aware they have."

On Monday a meeting between agencies, insurance companies and other teams working within the Edgecumbe rebuild should provide a more comprehensive list of people who are living back in their homes.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is close to finalising negotiations to buy properties directly adjacent to the College Rd breach and acquire land required for the College Rd stop-bank repair.

"Discussions are under way to mark this milestone, acknowledge the process that has occurred, and ensure the blessing of the land, in preparation for ongoing work," Regional Council engineering manager Mark Townsend said.

"The community can expect to see activity relating to further geotechnical testing in October/November, with physical clearing of the area around the same time."

The regional council is also in possession of the Rangitaiki River Scheme Review, an independent review led by Sir Michael Cullen commissioned to look at the infrastructure and the circumstances that lead to the breach. It has not released the contents of the review to the community, saying it needs time to review it first.

Meanwhile an independent review of Whakatane District Council's response to the April flooding and storm emergency highlighted "many positives", as well as improvement areas for local, regional and national emergency management organisations to consider.