A Sydney resident has hit out at the City of Sydney after a huge tree crushed a parked car just months after the council deemed it to be safe.
On Wednesday evening at around 9pm, a huge native tree came crashing down on Powell St in Waterloo in the inner city, falling on a parked car and narrowly avoiding a nearby pedestrian.
A photo of the aftermath was shared on Reddit by a resident, who said they had reported the tree to the council several months ago “as this tree had large branches that were dying and falling onto cars/the footpath”.
The Redditor claimed the tree was “deemed safe”, but that it had suddenly come down “with absolutely no wind around”.
While large parts of the city had experienced wild winds on Wednesday, the resident claimed that by the time the tree fell, the wind had stopped and that it was “dead still” just before the incident occurred.
The tree had been deemed ‘safe’ by City of Sydney council. Picture: Reddit
“There was a bloke crossing the road at the time and the tree narrowly missed him. Pretty lucky all things considered … except for the poor car owner,” the Redditor said, adding they were concerned as “there’s about a dozen more identical [trees] along the same road”.
Photos of the same incident were also shared on Facebook community groups, with one Facebook user urging locals to avoid the area if possible, and claiming that it “seems all the trees have rotted out”.
Unsurprisingly, social media users were quick to slam the council’s lack of action when first alerted to the problem.
“The fervent council protection of dangerous trees is just out of control in Sydney!” one person wrote, while another added “I hope the council has to pay, I highly doubt they will though”.
“My council is notoriously green and has tree protection policies, but even they cut down precarious trees … Trees go through natural life cycles too and councils need to recognise this,” another said.
Meanwhile, others urged the Redditor to email their photos of the fallen tree to the council with the subject line “told you so”.
“If you still have evidence of sending council letters to remove these trees as they are unsafe, give it to insurance and they can force council to pay for repairs or replacement of the car,” another said.
The huge native tree came crashing down on Powell St in Waterloo. Picture: Facebook
According to the council’s website, “Trees, like all living things, grow, age and eventually die. While tree removal is a last resort option, public safety is always a priority”.
The council claims it plans and carries out street tree maintenance in the local area, which “ensures street trees are assessed each year by our qualified teams and local greenery meets the highest arboricultural standards”.
The council states that “street trees will be pruned to remove any dead, dying or dangerous branches, allow people and traffic to pass under the branches freely, allow enough space underneath branches where they are near buildings, improve their health and ensure they don’t block traffic signs”.
A City of Sydney spokesperson said the tree that fell last night was last inspected in March 2022 with “no health or structural issues identified that would have lead to the tree failing the way it has”.
“There are around 50,000 trees on land managed by the City of Sydney, all of which are inspected annually. Qualified arborists assess the health and structure of each tree and any maintenance work that is required is carried out soon after the inspection,” the spokesperson said.
“The City’s Tree Management Policy ensures appropriate action is taken to manage or remove trees whenever necessary to maintain public safety.
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“In July 2022, the City of Sydney was alerted to a branch that had fallen from the same tree and was blocking the footpath. The City’s tree maintenance contractors assessed the tree and found the fallen branch had been struck by a passing vehicle before falling, and no other significant issues were identified.
“The City of Sydney doesn’t believe this incident is related to the failure last night. On Wednesday afternoon in the hours immediately prior to the tree’s failure, wind gusts of nearly 70km/h were recorded at Sydney Airport and these strong winds were likely a contributing factor.”
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