Tauranga residents evacuated from their Bella Vista homes at The Lakes on Friday ahead of Cyclone Hola have been told it could take two weeks to assess whether the homes are safe to occupy.

Council representatives met with homeowners tonight and told them many issues facing the development were worse than first thought.

During the emotionally-charged meeting, residents criticised the council for not acting sooner to address the issues they said were evident a month ago when the council started its assessment of the homes.

One resident said given the concerns raised about the development, he no longer felt safe in his home.

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Twenty-one properties and 13 families were affected by the evacuation. The council issued a warrant to evacuate the properties on Friday to allow emergency works at the subdivision to be carried out. The emergency works had been carried out, but the evacuation order remained in place while further geotechnical assessments are carried out.

Tauranga City Council chief executive's group general manager Kirsty Downey said the issues related to the buildings and the ground around the development.

Three buildings, in particular, were deemed dangerous and required urgent work. Those properties were still at the framing stage.

"Our primary focus is on your safety and the safety of your properties which is our paramount concern and we are committed to keeping you fully informed and working with you to find solutions, she told homeowners.

Engineers would reassess the properties tomorrow, and from there council would work with owners and residents on a plan for access to the properties, which is likely to be done on a house-by-house basis, she said.

Earlier, a council spokeswoman told the Bay of Plenty Times that temporary accommodation had been arranged for the owners and residents at various locations across Tauranga.

The Bella Vista Homes development site on Lakes Boulevard. Photo / George Novak
The Bella Vista Homes development site on Lakes Boulevard. Photo / George Novak

The spokeswoman said the accommodation was arranged based on what families needed and what was available at the time.

"The advice that was used to issue the warrant to vacate was received early Friday morning, and the warrant was then signed by the chief executive, which is when bookings were made."

She said the costs of temporary accommodation and out-of-pocket expenses would be met by the council, "and may change depending on how long it is needed".

"Engineers have been on site today. Tomorrow geotechnical experts will carry out a further assessment. Once that has happened, we will be in a better position to look at timing around access."

Read more: 21 homes evacuated: Concerns raised over slips in Bella Vista Lakes development as cyclone approaches

The Lakes resident Andre Stewart, who is yet to build his retaining wall, told the Bay of Plenty Times residents wanted to know what responsibility the council was going to take.

Stewart thanked The Lakes community for their support and help.

Andre Stewart in front of his unfinished house at The Lakes in December. It is now about 50 per cent completed. Photo / File
Andre Stewart in front of his unfinished house at The Lakes in December. It is now about 50 per cent completed. Photo / File

Jenny and Damian Coffey, who moved into their Bella Vista home at The Lakes in December 2016 with a full code of compliance, were two of the residents evacuated on Friday.

Earlier this afternoon, Jenny said they were feeling "anxious" ahead of the meeting with the council.

"We're not sure what to expect but hoping for some answers and find out what's going on and find out what the plan is to put it right so that we can go home."

She said she did not know how long they would be out of their home.

More accommodation had been booked for the couple which would take them up until the middle of next week, Jenny said.

"So it's anyone's guess at the moment. They [the council] are doing the best that they can, to be honest. They're struggling with accommodation and trying to fit us all in places."

Jenny Coffey was evacuated from her Bella Vista home at The Lakes on Friday. Photo / George Novak
Jenny Coffey was evacuated from her Bella Vista home at The Lakes on Friday. Photo / George Novak

They were being moved from one accommodation provider to another, she said.

"We're struggling. It's hard to keep some sort of normality going when we've just been uprooted."

The couple have four dogs, which are staying in kennels.

"We went and saw them on Sunday, and they don't know what's going on, and it was nice to see them, but it was also heart-breaking to leave them there," Jenny said.

"They're used to being around us more or less most of the time, and it's not fair on them."

She said the residents were all in constant contact with each other and all seemed to have a good handle of where they are at.

They were trying to keep an eye on each other, Jenny said.