Tauranga City Council has spent more than $1.6 million in six months dealing with the failed Bella Vista Homes development, including hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal advice and communications.

A breakdown of costs released to the Bay of Plenty Times on Monday afternoon showed $313,097 was spent on legal advice and fees, and $145,109 was spent on communications.

The total Bella Vista bill from November 30 last year to June 7 was $1,628,315.

Site security cost the council $389,973, and accommodation and personal support for the evacuated homeowners cost $204,486.


The cost of investigation and data gathering came in at $174,090, and external assessments (building, geotechnical and structural engineering) cost $332,247.

"Governance" cost $6160 and assessment of the four options considered by councillors cost $63,153.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said on Monday afternoon: "It's all very expensive, and it's even more reason why we need to get on and get the matter sorted out, preferably without things going to court."

In response to a question about the amount of money spent on communications, Brownless said: "It's one of those things, if you don't put the effort into communications, you get slammed and of course, if you do, you do, because it seems to be horrendously expensive. I'd agree that it seems hugely expensive."

Andre Stewart, one of the affected Bella Vista homeowners, said the amount of money spent by the council was "shocking" but he was not surprised.

"All that it tells me is that there is something seriously wrong. If they're willing to spend that much money on it, then there's something seriously wrong."

He said despite all that spending; homeowners were still sitting in the same position when it came to unanswered questions about why this happened.

"What have we learnt and what are we going to do about it?"


Stewart called for further transparency from the council.

On June 6, councillors unanimously voted in principle to buy the 21 Bella Vista Homes which were part of the failed subdivision at The Lakes.

The council will now look at negotiating with the homeowners to achieve full and final settlement.

When asked on June 6 whether the council had estimated what that final settlement would cost, council chief executive Garry Poole said: "We have some indication of what it is going to cost, but it's not appropriate for me to talk about that at this time."

Asked if it was going to be on the ratepayer, he said: "We're working with our insurers to see where the burden falls."

An independent investigation by former High Court judge Paul Heath QC into the council's role in the failed Bella Vista development was also released publicly on June 6.

The report found the council acted correctly in some areas but failed in others.

Heath said an inquiry or investigation was now needed into why the council failed to adequately perform relevant regulatory functions.

He also recommended the council take immediate steps to resolve outstanding differences between it and the homeowners.