Bella Vista report “not helpful”

Homes being taken awy from the failed development. Photo: Sharnae Hope/SunLive.

A former owner of a home in a botched development in Tauranga says a council report into what happened doesn't reveal much about what went wrong.

The council has released an executive summary of a report written on the Bella Vista development by retired judge Graeme Colgan. But the full report is being withheld by the council.

Work on the development started in 2015 and had to stop in 2017 due to ground and building quality issues.

Twenty-one homes were eventually declared dangerous or not up to scratch and had to be abandoned.

The report says the subdivision threw up a particularly glaring conflict of interest that was identified too late, and treated too lightly.

Lee Konowe's family were among those caught up in the construction nightmare. He says the report did not bring anything new to the table.

"The council went through significant self-examination when the group settled out and this report comes substantially after that. I'm just not of the opinion that there was much to gain from it."

Lee Konowe. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett.

Lee says the reports doesn't get to the crux of the matter, which is the consenting process that allowed the subdivision in the first place.

He and his family had moved on and did not have any ongoing issues with the council in regard to the development.

The report says the conflict of interest was probably a factor in the unwarranted passing of a number of building inspections of Bella Vista homes.

It says the council needed to train staff in how to recognise a conflict of interest, and hire a senior manager to oversee a council-wide register of potential and actual conflicts of interest.

The report says there are two main reasons the subdivision failed - one the inherently unstable ground it was built on, and the other was substandard construction of the homes.

It found the land was not properly retained for the development's use.

Mr Colgan found two categories of conduct or omission by council staff contributed to the collapse of the development.

The first was sticking to flawed processes for dealing with the resource consent. The report said staff should not be held responsible for the flawed consequences of their work in this regard.

However, he says some staff failed to meet what was expected of them in their roles.

The council's chief executive Marty Grenfell says most of the issues noted in the report were historic.

"Tauranga City Council is a very different organisation today from that which existed in 2015 to 2017, and our staff involved in the building services activities can be proud of the way they have worked together to address a significant proportion of the issues raised in this and other related reports."

The council now had a much different team and new departmental structures, says Marty.

He's looking forward to a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment follow-up review on the actions taken following its 2018 investigation of what happened.




4 Comments

Two Words

Posted on 20-09-2019 10:23 | By Justin T.

Criminal Cover-up!

Not very smart in the long run.......

Posted on 10-09-2019 20:25 | By groutby

.....in agreement to most city folk ( and why wouldn’t it be..it’s our money!), ith whole Bella Vista affair seemed somewhat ’shonky’ to say the least, it surely almost goes without saying if you ain’t got nothing to hide..here’s the FULL report to read. I’m sure I read a report of suspected, well, ’gifting’ or ’special’ deal having been done in exchange for a cheap section between the developer and TCC Building Inspection dept....now this may well be pure speculation around the city, but with no full report available to examine, who would know?..and you certainly can’t quiz the previous TCC CEO he’s left town...coincidentally shortly before this restricted report was released!...coincidence? This should not rest until all the facts are available and accountability completed...same staff...same results in the future...

An Utter Joke

Posted on 09-09-2019 19:55 | By Yadick

Tauranga Council have not taken any of this on board. They’ve snubbed their noses at the recommendations. We’ve had a retaining wall that would be at least 3mtr high. The main upright posts were put in leaning outwards away from the wall. I spoke to the landowner who showed me the plans that had the posts leaning inwards at a specified angle. Yes, council inspected it and signed it off. Blocks were then pushed in behind the posts so contact was made with the wall. The property owner contacted council again and was told it was fine. Engineer and inspectors had signed it off. Council’s remedy, put boards over it so you can’t see it. Shutting their eyes so they don’t see the fire. Irresponsible and appalling.

Bad Smell!

Posted on 09-09-2019 15:23 | By Maryfaith

Upon the bankruptcy of the initial "Lakes" developer, the subdivision was bought at ’fire sale’ price by the TCC’s favoured developer who, then completed the subdivision, including the sculpturing and landfilling of the sections. He then brought in his son-in-law to build the homes. It is evident there was a lot of ’wink wink’ - ’nudge nudge’ going on in high places. Then the ’manure’ hit the fan - and we all know the rest!! Is it any wonder the full report was not made public!!

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