A Hoppers Crossing man was left without electricity for four days and is $8000 out of pocket after a branch from a council-owned tree broke off, snapping a powerline and damaging his house.
A large branch off the black gum outside Philip Christopher’s Moffatt Crescent house came down in February.
But Wyndham council last week refused to reimburse Mr Christopher for the thousands he paid electricians to fix the powerline because, according to records, the tree was deemed safe 31 months ago.
“I was in the shower on a Saturday morning, it was sunny and there was no wind, and I heard an almighty crash,” Mr Christopher said.
“When I went out to check, this huge branch had broken off and landed where my letterbox is … if there was a person standing there it would have killed them.”
Mr Christopher said, to avoid hefty weekend callout fees, he waited until the following Monday for a contractor to come out.
Mr Christopher said a letter from Wyndham council informed him that council trees were inspected every 36 months.
Operations director Stephen Thorpe said the council planted trees “in good faith” and had strict inspection and maintenance regimes to ensure they remain in good condition.
“Our arborists and contractors have programs to ensure the safety of our trees, however, we cannot control nature,” Mr Thorpe said.
“While we empathise with such property owners, unfortunately council is not responsible for acts of nature.”
Mr Thorpe said when the tree was inspected in July-August 2016 “no defects were identified with the health of the tree”.
“Trees … are important to improve urban amenity, provide shade and make Wyndham a more attractive place to live,” he said.
“As we consider the tree to have been inspected and appropriately maintained, there was no negligence on council’s behalf.”