Swimming pool plunges down cliff at controversial Bach Haven House
A Beach Haven swimming pool, water tanks and pilings fell down the cliff towards the beach yesterday, leaving neighbors shocked but not surprised at the recent collapse of the $2.2 million property.
Ben Wilson’s waterfront home on Brigantine Dr above Charcoal Bay was the subject of publicity last year after it slipped over the winter.
Then Auckland Council said the slips – which were part of the property with them – were a natural occurrence and not the fault of the owner.
The council values the property at $2.2 million, which is a $1.1 million section and a $1.1 million home.
Today, a TikTok video filmed from the bay below the White House showed the swimming pool partially cascading down the cliff.
the herald approached Wilson for comment, but he has not yet responded.
Extensive debris can also be seen at the base of the cliff just above the sea. People in the area today said the pool wasn’t the only material that fell during yesterday’s torrential rain.
Neighbors said they were shocked by the situation but not surprised by what happened to the house, which was built near the cliff edge.
“Around 6 p.m. yesterday, the so-called ring beam of concrete and 8m deep piles, including water tanks and swimming pools, fell into Waitemata Harbor and more pohutukawas went with them,” said a person in the area.
“The house now seems to be unsupported in places – not good at all. Serious questions need to be asked,” the man said.
The 8m depth of the piles was less than half the height of the cliff, he estimated, and presented no obstacle to the extreme weather event that resulted in deaths elsewhere in Auckland.
Neighbors said Wilson’s home sits above a popular hiking area.
Rosecamp Road Foreshore Reserve is signposted by the Kaipātaki Local Board: “A large, mostly bush covered reserve with access to Charcoal Bay Beach. A good network of trails connects the entrances, although there are many steps and steep areas that would make access difficult for some. Access the reserve from Rosecamp Road and via a walkway from Jacaranda Avenue,” the council says.
Last year: The pool (right) was still in place when this picture was taken. Photo / Included
Homeowner Ben Wilson was issued two abatement notices: the first in 2019 and the second last year.
Kerri Fergusson, Auckland Council’s Compliance Response and Investigation Manager, said last year unauthorized vegetation and stair construction work was being carried out underneath Wilson’s home above Charcoal Bay.
Council documents state that Wilson has admitted to doing the vegetation work. Pines and natives were removed because he considered them dangerous, council documents showed.
The Beach Haven property where the swimming pool collapsed. Photo / Included
Fergusson said that herald in 2022: “Investigations are ongoing, but there is currently no evidence that the unauthorized work was the cause of the recent slip-ups”.
The first reduction notice was issued on May 23, 2019 due to dwindling vegetation.
After the tree question, it was then discovered that stairs had been built in the council reserve. A neighbor said last year these stairs remained in 2022 when the cliff collapsed and did not fall.
Inquiries have been sent to the council about the situation with the Beach Haven pool and pilings, whether they endanger people and whether action is needed.
Wilson said last year he couldn’t discuss the situation around his home: “I’ve been very busy this week with a family matter. The council has all the information on your questions,” he said on August 15.
He hasn’t said anything about it since then.
Last August, Ross Roberts, Auckland Council’s head of technical resilience and geotechnical engineer, said it was “very unlikely” that Wilson’s new home had had any impact on the cliff below.
Council staff continued to monitor the situation, but he was not afraid for people’s safety.
When asked about the weight of the new multi-story home on the site, which the council said had never been built on, Roberts said it was “very unlikely” that weight was a contributing cause.
“This house is surrounded by a pile wall and these piles were buried 8m deep,” he pointed out.
“So the house has no effect on the cliff. The house might only be affected if it’s literally on the landslide – and it’s not. The house shouldn’t affect the stability of the cliff because it’s set far enough back,” Roberts said.
North Shore Councilman Chris Darby has expressed his concern about the situation of Beach Haven’s cliffs. He said last year he focused on root causes.