Council refuse to pay driver $1,000 for windscreen damaged by tree pod: ‘I was shattered’

A driver is “gobsmacked” her local council will not cover the cost of her damaged windscreen after a “huge pod” from a tree fell on it, inflicting a “severe crack” on the glass.

Susan Blank was on her way to a medical appointment on May 1 and had just parked on Campbell Avenue in Paddington, in Sydney’s inner east, when she heard a loud thud in her Mazda.

“I was sitting in my car actually responding to a text when the pod fell on my windscreen,” she told Yahoo News. “I was shattered.”

A council worker allegedly assessed the condition of the tree after a pod fell from it on Campbell Avenue, Paddington damaging Blank’s car. Source: Supplied

She quickly contacted Woollahra council and a “tree guy” was allegedly sent out to assess the tree on the same day, with the driver claiming the council worker apologized to her and called the tree “defective.” “They should put a net around it,” the worker allegedly said to Blank.

Blank told Yahoo News she was quoted $1,400 to have the windscreen repaired, with her insurance only covering $405 of the cost — meaning she was facing the possibility of being $995 out of pocket.

After contacting the council for compensation, she claims it has denied responsibility, forcing her to drive around with the damaged windscreen while they fight over the issue.

“They were so dismissive. I mean, the anger and the arrogance that came across in the emails shocked me,” she said. “They don’t seem to care about their residents at all.”

A spokesperson from Woollahra Council confirmed to Yahoo that they received a claim for damage to a vehicle on May 1, but “following assessment by Council staff, including a qualified arborist, the request was declined on May 6 and a report provided to the applicant. “

After a request to review the decision, council then outlined their reasons behind the decision on May 10.

“Council’s arborist report, combined with information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology confirming strong winds over 50km/h on the date of the incident, determined the primary reason for the damage to the vehicle was likely to be the natural shedding of fruit pods by a tree, exacerbated by strong winds rather than any failure on the part of Council regarding tree maintenance,” the spokesperson said.

“The request for compensation was declined on the basis that Council could not be held responsible for acts of nature or circumstances beyond its control.”

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