The Whakatane District Council is defending its flood prevention measures after 34 homes in the town and Ohope were badly damaged by a severe storm.
The town's chief fire officer, Ken Clark, said on Tuesday it may have been avoided if the council had taken earlier preventive measures, as similar flooding occurred two years ago and there have been several other instances recently.
Mr Clark said the council has talked about improving flood prevention measures for the past three or four years, so it does have some idea of what could have been done before the latest event.
"If the council had've taken more action a couple of years ago ... maybe this may not have happened. It just seems as though nothing is sort of getting done. I guess if you were to go down to the affected area, you'd find quite a few irate people down there."
Mr Clark said if the weather holds, it would be the end of the week before residents' houses are completely cleaned up.
However, district council spokesperson Ross Boreham said Friday's storm was an extreme weather event and it is looking at a long-term solution.
"We're working closely with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on the possibilities of retaining floodwaters in the catchment and releasing them in a much more controlled fashion. It has to go through a whole range of engineering feasibility studies and then a resource consent exercise, but it's very much a priority."
Mr Boreham said the council has spent more than $1 million improving its stormwater system.