The nightmare only intensified for evacuated Bella Vista homeowners and residents this week.

They were told by the city council at a meeting on Thursday night they would not be able to return to their homes at The Lakes for at least another three weeks as new problems had been identified.

On top of that, the residents and owners found out that after April 12, they would need to find their own alternative accommodation if required.

Homeowner Tony Mann, who has three daughters living with him, said yesterday that, in his view, it was "disgusting".


"They've got all this information that they say they're compiling but they're waiting until the 12th of April to tell us – the same day they're going to cut us off."

Mann said Thursday night's update came as a shock.

"They're saying we've got three weeks to prepare to try and find somewhere to live. There's no abundance of rentals around in Tauranga. We'd need bond money. People have got pets. This is just absolutely disgusting."

He said he had to correct city council chief executive Garry Poole on more than one occasion at the meeting when Poole referred to the issues as being "your problem" instead of "our problem".

Mann said his daughters went with him to the meeting.

"It was very emotional them seeing people crying and seeing people upset the way they were."

One of his daughters, at the end of the meeting, told a council representative about the impact it was having on her life.

"I... said that I'm a 12-year-old girl who has a lot of homework to be doing and I'm getting in trouble at school because I can't get my homework done. I have nowhere to sit down and do it. I'm living out of a suitcase and eating takeaways every night."

Bella Vista homeowner Tony Mann and his three daughters moved into new accommodation last night. They have been out of their home since March 9. Photo / Andrew Warner
Bella Vista homeowner Tony Mann and his three daughters moved into new accommodation last night. They have been out of their home since March 9. Photo / Andrew Warner

Over the past week, the council received advice from four experts from different companies which identified problems related to geotechnical, structural and building compliance.

Owners were told that based on the expert advice, 19 of the 21 buildings could be issued with dangerous building notices.

If that happened, owners and residents would not be able to reoccupy their homes for some time.

One of the evacuated homeowners, Jenny Coffey, said she was upset at a lack of answers from the council.

Jenny and her husband Damian Coffey moved into their Bella Vista home at The Lakes in December 2016 with a full code of compliance.

"These are our investments, in our case all our money is tied up in the house. The three options being discussed by council do not reflect the huge impact this is having on us.

"We have no security, we pay a mortgage and can't access our sanctuary, we can't have our animals with us. We are professionals that now live in a motel room. This is taking a toll on our relationships, our work life, our mental and physical wellness."

Jenny Coffey said on top of that, the rental market in Tauranga was tough and so trying to find a place on short notice would not be easy.

"Plus we will be paying mortgages and rates. Add in trying to find somewhere that will accept not one dog but four. We are responsible owners who took on our dogs as we had a secure house that could house them."

Bella Vista homeowners and residents at Thursday night's meeting with the council. Photo / Andrew Warner
Bella Vista homeowners and residents at Thursday night's meeting with the council. Photo / Andrew Warner

Another resident at The Lakes, Andre Stewart, said he had a lot of unanswered questions after Thursday night's meeting.

"I was heartbroken for my family and those families that are all on that hill affected by this as we still do not have the answers to the questions we are asking," he said.

"Why are we waiting three weeks for answers? You [council] have a full team of experts and specialists working full time, under urgency, on this now."

He wanted to know if the houses that failed the invasive testing were signed off by a building inspector and if so, why.

Stewart also wanted to know what the owners with full council code of compliance were going receive in the way of support.

Engineers also raised a new issue with basement concrete block walls after checking the designs of two properties on Wednesday.

Kirsty Downey, general manager of the council chief executive's group, said for one of the buildings, the check showed the basement wall was not able to support water pressure loads.

All but two of the buildings at the development site had that type of basement wall and therefore the council would need to check that all the walls were safe, she said.

The council also revealed on Thursday that the approximate cost of temporary accommodation for residents and security at the development site over a one-week period was $65,000.

It would continue to cover accommodation costs until April 12.

"Council is currently providing accommodation support to 12 families. There are four security staff working at the development and ensuring it is secure throughout the day and night," Downey said.

Part of the reason for the evacuation of the homes on March 9 was a concern with an unretained slope and the potential for the slope to fail.

The geotechnical advice was the slope remained an issue, but was only part of the problem.

The council presented owners with three potential options on Thursday that it was considering.

Those were: working with owners on remediation; council buying the properties, demolishing the buildings and on-selling them to a developer; and, council undertaking its regulatory functions only.

Expert assessments were due to be completed by April 12.