Hardening up over Bella Vista dispute

Residents on Lakes Boulevard were evicted from their homes prior to Cyclone Hola earlier this month.

Attitudes are hardening up on both sides of the Bella Vista homes dispute as the council tells home owners they will receive no more support from April 12.

The residents of 13 homes on Lakes Boulevard have had accommodation paid for since they were evicted on March 9.

Last night, Tauranga City Council CEO Garry Poole told residents their accommodation and security is costing council $65,000 a week, and the council is not paying after April 12.

From then, the residents who are paying mortgages, rates, and bills on consented homes that they are not permitted to live in, may have to find other accommodation.

It didn’t go down well.

One couple with four dogs currently housed in commercial kennels at council cost, asked where they could rent that would accept the dogs.

Residents have been offered three options:

Remediation: The council will pay for the houses to be remediated to the satisfaction of the bevy of experts now involved, with the costs recouped by the council when the houses are eventually on-sold.

The second option is for the council to buy the properties, demolish the buildings and sell the land to a developer.

The third option is for council to carry out only its statutory functions, complete the assessments, issue notices and provide no further assistance.

“No decision has been made by elected members.  We are in an information gathering phase and will continue to explore what is possible,” says city council CEO group general manager Kirsty Downey.

“This is very much a work in progress we want to be as open as we can be. This is hard hitting and is not what you expected to hear from us tonight.”

Since residents were ordered out on March 9 the council has been assessing the homes and the ground conditions using ground penetrating radar.

Four homes have has section of GIB wall removed so the structure could be checked. Two of the four have the same defects as three incomplete buildings onsite, says Kirsty.

Claimed issues with basement concrete block walls were challenged from the floor by residents saying any water and drainage issues will disappear if council allows the retaining and drainage work to proceed.

Hilton Miller says the council is not following accepted practice. First the issues are identified and fixed. The retaining wall is relatively simple. Cracks in the ground can be filled.

“And then your lawyer talks to my lawyer, the blame game, to me that comes later.”

He describes the council process as disingenuous, meaning not candid or sincere. Everyone knows the council is at fault because they have houses that were signed off as compliant, says Hilton.

Dr Lee Konowe castigated the council for its treatment of the residents.

The retired psychologist says the affected Lakes Boulevard residents are hugely stressed some of them as bad as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

His home is signed off, he praised the work of his builder contracted to Bella Vista and said the quality of the build was good enough for a former city council building inspector to buy one, across the street.

He says the council’s treatment of the residents has turned a loosely knit bunch of neighbours into a much more resolute group.

“Which is exactly what you probably did not want to happen.”

A woman identifying herself as Jenny asked what went wrong with the Tauranga City council.

“It was safe when we moved in. What went wrong? What happened?

“We have done nothing wrong. You have taken us from our house. What has happened? How has it happened? We came to find answers.”

The standard answer last night was hat the information from the ground penetrating radar and the assessment by geotechnical experts – which are now peer reviewed – are not yet available and decisions cannot yet be made.

In reply to a question about moving costs and could they get a truck in, Kirsty told her that access would be on a request by request basis at the discretion of the geotechnical engineer.

When asked if he was embarrassed by the events, Garry Poole said he was.

Garry was also reproached for saying ‘your problem’ and when challenged agreed it was ‘our problem’.

Questions about what would appear on the property LIM reports if the buildings were remediated, were not answered definitively

Some items on LIM reports are legal requirements, whether the contents of the reports being prepared on the properties will be added, is unable to be answered at this time says Kirsty.

A home owner who asked if the remedial work undertaken ahead of Cyclone Hola was signed off, was told no.

The work was undertaken under the supervision of engineers and done to their satisfaction. City council building inspectors have not yet inspected the work.


Council Managment Useless?

Posted on 01-04-2018 11:05 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Actually it is a lot worse than that, useless would indicate that they do nothing, which isnt true. They are in fact way worse than "Council Managment Useless" becasue they are actually planning to fail and they are actively seeking to do all they can to make that happen.

@ Reality_Check

Posted on 28-03-2018 13:39 | By MISS ADVENTURE

That is how it is, well summarised and of course factual. Regrettably if you asked the CEO or any staff they would on auto-response say how wonderful they are how great it all is... self praise and self justification means no transparency and no accountability at all from Councillors or the organisation at any level. The example is set at the top and that sets the level of expectation thereafter. The level has been dropping rapidly for perhaps some 10+ years and the spped of decline is increasing.

New Council Managment Useless

Posted on 25-03-2018 14:43 | By Reality_Check

In my opinion since the new management came to power in 2013 the quality of management has dropped greatly. The councillors do not appear to be providing the good stewardship they should. They appear to be involved in pointless debate about a museum when the basics are falling by the wayside. They appear to have the highest number of secret meetings ever. This situation appears in part to be the result of the council falling asleep at the wheel. Garry Poole in my view is well in need of replacement. When this level of poor building monitoring and assistance to the community occurs in conjunction with the costs of the destroyed council building and a pending 40% rates increase and hopeless traffic congestion at multiple places in TGA how much more evidence of hopeless management do you need ?

@ happayday - part 3

Posted on 24-03-2018 16:57 | By MISS ADVENTURE

So when all of the above is on the table then it is clear that Bella Vista are not the problem here! But then it gets worse, reports are unoffically coming out that the inspection report of the three houses 9/3/2018 was wrong, the part built houses are not "dangerous" at all. The excuses noted to justify the evictions here are wrong, for example, the floor joists hangers are fitted as per the Building Code, as such they cant be wrong and cant be fitted in any other way. On that basis the expensive consultant reports can not be right as it is compulsory to build as per the Building Code. All going on here points to this all being nothing to do with the embankment, houses, builder or trades involved, it all snacks of something a lot bigger and worse, at least for TCC ratepayers anyway.

@ happyday - part 2

Posted on 24-03-2018 16:51 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The stepping back in time, how did TCC approve the subdivision plan, issue title, collect massive fees for all of that from teh developer to pass on to the homeowners? How did a title get issued as part of all that? I am sure that for example the building Inspectors know the job well, that they know the building code and can read an approved plan from the Building Consent to ensure that as the Building Act requires the houses are built as per plan. I am sure that the three independent Consultants, been around the site for ages and have no issue with the embankment to date do know their stuff and can be relied upon here. So how is it that one person, involved from the start, has a personal interest in events here and desperately wants Council to act and create mess here. Part-3

@ Happyday

Posted on 24-03-2018 16:45 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Well its not such a "happyday" is it, the expected legal battle will end result be some $5-10 million, then add legal fees/other costs. The end result here is the bills wll be massive. The ONLY reaason for TCC/CEO acting as is now is an attempt at great cost to fabricate up soem kind of evidence that is extremely dodgy in a feeble attempt to discredit Bella Vista and its tradees work done. To be realistic, how possibly could Bella Vista be at fault over the retaining wall apparent issue when never part of the build contract? How did these houses get a Building Consent if not Building Code compliant? How did they get inspected by... you guessed it, TCC Building Inspectors and get sign off at each step/stage to continue each build? How did 13 get a Code of Compliance Certificate (means all done,completed correctly? see part2

Does anyone know

Posted on 24-03-2018 15:40 | By The Sage

Why Garry Poole lost his job at Wellington City Council? It appears, from what I have read online that Councillors decided not to review his contract? Why? The job was advertised and he was unsuccessful. He was getting paid $420,000.00 per year, more than the Prime Minister. That being the case, why was he given the CEO job at Tauranga City Council. Did anyone do due diligence on him? Time for another change of venue I think Mr Poole.

Bella Vista

Posted on 24-03-2018 11:25 | By Happyday

If the TCC is held to account on this, as they should be, then all that cash being side-tracked into the museum should go to remedy this debacle. Shame on the Council for trying to sidestep this failure.

@ astex

Posted on 24-03-2018 11:00 | By MISS ADVENTURE

It needs the public to rise up and get vocal about the performance, results and actions of TCC and its failures. That means hold the Cuncillors to account so as they will have no choice but to stand up and do the right thing for ratepayers and so drag the organisation back into line, that is soooooooo overdue.

@ Glencora

Posted on 24-03-2018 10:57 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The building company has not let the homeowners down, TCC have obviously approved of the build throughout the entire process because they have issued a CCC. That means the building consent is valid, the builder built what was on the consented plan, the inspectors were happy, the CCC confirms all tradees have done what they should = perfect. Then only one party remains at fault here after that. They are simply seeking to gather evidence to try to defend themselves from massive legally real claims against them where deliberate stuff ups have been made.


Posted on 24-03-2018 09:02 | By overit

So true. Isn’t this why we have Consents to protect people from exactly this.


Posted on 24-03-2018 08:52 | By rastus

I read all the above comments and wonder where the thinking has gone. The reality is that persons employed by us (TCC) have made incompetent decisions and as such the CEO should be publicly naming these useless ’so called’ inspectors and they should be sacked for not performing up to the required standards - also they should be brought before the appropriate tribunal and be stripped of whatever license to practice that they presently hold because obviously they are not capable of carrying out their duties to the standard required AND when you bleat on about the council being responsible never forget that its our money that the council is spending and if you now want them to spend more then I am afraid they will again be raiding your pockets - get real here

...and yet.........

Posted on 23-03-2018 22:05 | By groutby

...it is one of the core services (Housing Compliance) that we expect the council to do and do well...I do hope it’s not another ’leaky homes’ type of issue where the TCC engaged an outside company to do their work, that company miraculously went t**s up, and the council walked away free of any (legal) blame at all...remember that?...I sure do...:(


Posted on 23-03-2018 21:00 | By GreertonCynic

"casts doubt on everything the council has done". Is absolutely true, and absolutely frightening.

Get rid of Gary Poole

Posted on 23-03-2018 19:40 | By Really

Garry Poole caused endless problems with incompetence in Wellington and now Tauranga. People should be able to rely on council inspections as they are the so called experts and charge accordingly.

Shocking TDC

Posted on 23-03-2018 19:29 | By reactn2u

I built with Gartshores and the Code of Compliance failed when the unit was already built - why because the overshadowing of the house behind and the preparation before the floor was laid - believe that or not!Also TDC allowed the plans to be turned around eg the house in the front got my double garage plan and I ended up with the single garage plan. TDC would of had a backhand from the builders on that one I believe!My lawyer ended up to be the builders lawyers as well so I found out in the end???All corrupt and TDC allowed the whole thing to happen. A nightmareLynn


Posted on 23-03-2018 18:24 | By R1Squid

This issue cannot be laid at the feet of our elected representatives. It is an administrative issue and must clearly be laid at the feet of the Chief Executive Officer of the Tauranga City Council.I do, however, agree that the business be placed in statutory management as costs appear to have become unmanageable by the current administration. The Kaipara Administration was voted in to statutory management for the cost blowout of a sewage system. That was within the last 20 years.

TCC Baffoons

Posted on 23-03-2018 17:29 | By paul

TCC is useless. They are more interested in spending ratepayers money on their wish list of goodies..museum etc. Their own premises had black mould and they had to move out of Willow st at further expense to the ratepayers. The building was full of expert inspectors and no one could resolve it before it got supposedly so bad they have to demolish it. Yeah right! If they all had to run their own businesses they would fail. They’re incompetent! Time for a big shakeup at TCC.

Councils problem

Posted on 23-03-2018 16:36 | By missusmck

We had a similar problem here in rotorua with some houses that sank on a subdivision which the council approved but funnily enough the developer was a councillor so work that one out.Anyhow it went to court and the council had to buy the houses back off the owners and they are still empty.If the tcc are footing the bill to accommodate the these people and pay for their pets to be boarded I would think that by them doing this then they are admitting liability.

It will never be the Council that pays

Posted on 23-03-2018 16:27 | By tish

just the ratepayers paying for the complete stuff up the Council have made no matter which option they take. Sack the lot of them and get these people back in their homes.

While I agree....

Posted on 23-03-2018 16:22 | By laugeo

that TCC are at fault for signing these properties off. Obviously there is a failure in their system of inspection and sign off. What about Bella Vista though? They are (or should be) aware of codes of practice and standards of workmanship required! It’s not good enough that we accept a situation where are building contractor is going to build below standard or shoddy and then we shift all blame to TCC for signing off on it. At the end of the day, TCC did not build it. They did pursue Bella Vista to put things right but of course they took the easy way out and closed shop - no longer their problem!

Talk about not taking responsibility

Posted on 23-03-2018 15:53 | By The Sage

In my view the wheels are falling off TCC. This should never have happened. The blame falls fairly and squarely on the Council. The house owners paid for their homes and moved in when the codes of compliance were issued. Council should keep footing the bill until these people move back into their homes, they will still be paying mortgages, rates and insurance. We seriously need to drain the swamp at the Council, everyone runs for cover, the same goes in regards to the bottle collection, Council let Waste Management have a contract that allowed this to happen. Where are the checks? I feel for the people with the 4 dogs. Even more stressful and stressful for the dogs too.

Talk about not taking responsibility

Posted on 23-03-2018 15:53 | By The Sage

In my view the wheels are falling off TCC. This should never have happened. The blame falls fairly and squarely on the Council. The house owners paid for their homes and moved in when the codes of compliance were issued. Council should keep footing the bill until these people move back into their homes, they will still be paying mortgages, rates and insurance. We seriously need to drain the swamp at the Council, everyone runs for cover, the same goes in regards to the bottle collection, Council let Waste Management have a contract that allowed this to happen. Where are the checks? I feel for the people with the 4 dogs. Even more stressful and stressful for the dogs too.

This a crazy situation

Posted on 23-03-2018 15:49 | By Dazed and Confused

If there is proof TCC people have signed CCCs at random and created this situation Heads must roll.There can be no less if TCC wants any confidence from the rate payers this must be dealt with swiftly and harshly .If its not its time for Government inquiry


Posted on 23-03-2018 15:35 | By Maryfaith

Quote "One couple with four dogs currently housed in commercial kennels at council cost, asked where they could rent that would accept the dogs." How can these people be allowed to have 4 dogs in such a dense housing situation?? Pity their neighbours!! Council should not be paying for the housing of 4 dogs!! Probably costing more to house the dogs than house their owners!!

Unbelievable failure

Posted on 23-03-2018 14:29 | By Glencora

This is a sad and shocking failure of the system that is supposed to provide support to homeowners by double checking the workmanship of their build - during the building process. TCC charges an exorbitant amount for council fees, require every trade to be licensed and liable, and perform inspections during the builds to double check everything is up to scratch. To have signed off and issued final CCC documentation on non-compliant and sub-standard work is a performance failure in the extreme. These homeowners have been doubly let down, firstly by their building company, and secondly by the council that was supposed to protect them from poor workmanship. And that begs the question - how many more new homes with council CCC sign are not up to code? Unfortunately this casts doubt on everything the council has done.

Just how much more?

Posted on 23-03-2018 13:27 | By astex

How much more does this council need to stuff up before it is sacked and a commissioner is appointed to sort out the mess that is Tauranga?

What a shambles

Posted on 23-03-2018 12:54 | By MISS ADVENTURE

I feel very much for the home owners and this cherade that TCC have created unravels. I am sure that there saga is far from over. The residents have been rogered totally for no reason at all. This wee fight is between Bella Vista and Council everything else is just blowing smoke...


Posted on 23-03-2018 12:51 | By Told you

It is absolutely unbelievable that this situation has arisen, the blame must fall squarely on the TCC as these homes were signed off, it points to someone been totally incompetent either employed or contacted by the Council.


Posted on 23-03-2018 12:34 | By Anton

Did those people pay for the permit? I think so otherwise you are not allowed to put a spade in the ground.And who gave permission to start building on unsafe ground, what you do without retaining walls.And then just hoping that nothing will happen during building the houses.Bad workmanship from the council, And then just saying after the 12 th of April it is finished.Are those people paying rates, probably!

Further to Enough i Enough

Posted on 23-03-2018 12:29 | By chatter

Local Government Act 20023 PurposeThe purpose of this Act is to provide for democratic and effective local government that recognises the diversity of New Zealand communities; and, to that end, this Act(a) states the purpose of local government; and(b) provides a framework and powers for local authorities to decide which activities they undertake and the manner in which they will undertake them; and(c) promotes the accountability of local authorities to their communities; and(d) provides for local authorities to play a broad role in meeting the current and future needs of their communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions.I think currently council are trying to dodge (c) & failing miserably at (d)

Enough is enough

Posted on 23-03-2018 12:27 | By chatter

It is about time the council is held responsible for its inadequacies & incompetence.NO MORE expecting the ratepayers to bail them out again with further rate increases.What is being proposed by Gary Poole is DISTGUSTING - these are everyday peoples dreams, belongings & aspirations that are being crushed by by a group of incompetents that hide in their "crystal" tower.I feel sorry for these residents who have been let down by an organisation that that is supposed to be working in the best interest of the ratepayers.


Posted on 23-03-2018 12:23 | By Capt_Kaveman

TCC to court if they have the final say then TCC are responsible this is a joke and a failed system that should never happen

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