UPDATED: 5.15pm:Tauranga City Council is in the process of evicting property owners from 13 houses at The Lakes because it claims they are endangered by Cyclone Hola, expected to arrive late Monday.
In total there are 21 properties involved partially built by liquidated developer Bella Vista Homes.
Between twenty and thirty people are being removed from their homes at The Lakes tonight by 8pm, says city council ceo Garry Poole at a press conference this afternoon.
The 21 homes built by Bella Vista Homes in Lakes Boulevard and Anita Way are in different stages of completion with 13 of them being occupied.
The council is acting because of advice from experts and in view of Cyclone Hola’s expected arrival on Monday afternoon.
“Our focus is on helping home owners this unique situation which arose on November 30 with the liquidation of Bella Vista homes,” says Garry.
The accommodation costs are being met by the council, which will include the costs of boarding any animals, says Garry.
“We do not believe those costs will be significant.”
The houses are in various stages of completion. The warrant includes work on three of the dwellings to prevent lifting in high winds that are expected on Monday.
People will remain in council supplied accommodation until after the cyclone has passed and the buildings and land has been inspected by geotechnical and engineering staff.
At issue is a cut on a rear of a slope near the site made in 2016, that remains unretained.
“The retaining walls weren’t signed off,” says Garry. “Again it comes back to the circumstances presented. Under the Building Act the council cannot dictate the sequencing of work.
“The fact that the retaining walls were not there was raised with the owners of Bella Vista many, many times. They gave us assurances that retaining walls would be put in place. Their plan was to put the retaining walls in after the construction. The liquation intervened.
"Time over took them in the form of the liquidation. That is why I call this a unique circumstance."
This morning Council received advice from a geotechnical specialist that the properties need to be vacated from today, says Garry.
Council has attempted to contact all owners of these properties and is organising temporary accommodation for them.
Garry Poole today issued a warrant under section 129 of the Building Act to give the council the ability to carry out work on the properties.
“As Council’s assessment of the properties is ongoing, we cannot go into further details but there are a number of issues that we are looking at,” says Garry.
Following the liquidation of that company on 30 November 2017, Council launched a comprehensive assessment of all the homes, which included inspections by building and engineering specialists.
The homes are in varying stages of completion, and the assessment was to establish what needs to be done to ensure all of the homes in the subdivision are compliant with the building code.
“This is a unique situation due to the insolvency and liquidation of Bella Vista Homes prior to the completion of the development and the decision by some home owners to occupy their homes,” says Garry.
“Council acknowledges that homeowners have faced an upsetting and challenging time and is committed to supporting owners at this time.”
The expert assessments on the properties are expected to be completed over the coming weeks.
A dedicated project team has been established to work on this matter.
A press conference has been called for 4pm Friday.