An independent report into the Bella Vista development is being publicly released today.
The report, by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), is the result of a comprehensive investigation into the way Council handled its statutory role under the Building Act in relation to the failed development at The Lakes.
While the investigation did not find evidence of systemic problems, the report does say that Council failed to follow its own processes in relation to the Bella Vista development and lost the benefit of safeguards and oversights that would normally be in place.
MBIE requires Council to undertake a range of actions to improve the way it handles building developments in future.
Mayor Greg Brownless welcomed the report, which he said answered many of the questions that ratepayers had rightly been asking.
“We need to take these recommendations on board to ensure that we provide a better service,” he said.
“It’s also important to be open about this report by encouraging our community to read it for themselves.”
In the year or more since problems were identified at the development, Council has already taken steps to provide a better service, including improved training for staff and the introduction of system, structural and personnel changes.
Further steps will be taken in light of the MBIE report, and an ongoing internal investigation is also expected to help Council ensure accountability for any failings.
To summarise MBIE’s requirements, Council must:
- Revise some of our policies and procedures, including our enforcement strategy and the treatment of reports by third parties (producer statements).
- Ensure that staff are aware of, and able to carry out, their obligations in accepting building consent applications, understanding the distinction between minor variations and amendments to building consents, inspections and enforcement.
- Submit updated policies and procedures to MBIE within two months of receiving the report.
The full report can be downloaded from MBIE’s website.