A Beach Haven swimming pool, water tanks and piles fell down the cliff towards the beach yesterday, leaving neighbours shocked but unsurprised about the latest collapse at the $2.2 million property.
Ben Wilson’s waterfront home on Brigantine Dr above Charcoal Bay was the subject of publicity last year after slips during winter.
Then, Auckland Council said the slips - which had taken part of the property with them - were a natural occurrence and were not the owner’s fault.
The council values the property at $2.2m, being a $1.1m section and $1.1m house.
Today, a TikTok video filmed from the bay beneath the white home showed the swimming pool had cascaded partway down the cliff.
The Herald approached Wilson to comment but he so far has not replied.
Extensive debris is also shown at the bottom of the cliff just above the sea. People in the area today said the pool wasn’t the only material to fall during yesterday’s torrential rain.
Neighbours said they were shocked at the situation but not surprised by what was happening to the house built near the cliff edge.
“At approximately 6pm yesterday the so-called concrete ring beam and 8m deep piles, including water tanks and swimming pools, fell into the Waitemata Harbour plus more pohutukawas went with them,” one person in the area said.
“The house now appears to be precariously sitting 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 was no barrier to the extreme weather event which resulted in lives being lost elsewhere in Auckland.
Neighbours said Wilson’s home was above a popular walking spot.
The 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 paths connects the entrances, though there are a lot of steps and steep areas which would make access challenging for some. Access the reserve from Rosecamp Road and via a walkway from Jacaranda Avenue”, the council says.
Two abatement notices were issued to homeowner Ben Wilson: The first in 2019 and the second last year.
Kerri Fergusson, Auckland Council’s compliance response and investigation manager, said last year that non-consented vegetation and stair construction works were carried out below Wilson’s home above Charcoal Bay.
Council documents say Wilson admitted to carrying out the vegetation work. Pine trees and natives were removed because he believed they were dangerous, council documents showed.
Fergusson told the Herald in 2022: “Investigations are ongoing but there is currently no evidence to suggest that the unconsented works were the cause of the recent slips”.
The first abatement notice was issued on May 23, 2019 over vegetation vanishing.
After the tree issue, stairs were then discovered to have been built in the council reserve. A neighbour said last year that those stairs remained and did not fall in the cliff collapse during 2022.
Inquiries have been sent to the council about the situation with the Beach Haven pool and piles, whether they endanger people and what if any action is required.
Wilson said last year he could not discuss the situation about his house: “I’m all consumed with a family matter this week. The council have all information relating to your questions”, he said on August 15.
He has since said nothing about it.
Last August, Ross Roberts, Auckland Council’s engineering resilience head and a geotechnical engineer, said Wilson’s new house was “very unlikely” to have had any effect on the cliff beneath.
Council staff were continuing to monitor the situation but he held no fears for people’s safety.
Asked about the weight of the new multi-level house on the site the council said had never previously been built on, Roberts said it was “very unlikely” that weight was a contributing cause.
“This house is surrounded by a piled wall and those piles were buried 8m down,” he stressed.
“So that house is not having any effect on the cliff. The only way the house could be affected is if it was literally on top of the landslide - and it’s not. The house shouldn’t make any difference to the cliff stability because it’s far enough back,” Roberts said.
North Shore councillor Chris Darby has expressed concern about the Beach Haven cliff situation. He said last year he was focused on what caused it.