A newlywed couple have been locked in a battle with their council after a reportedly dead tree came crashing down on their fence, leaving a “gaping hole”.
First-time homeowners Elissa and Anthony say they do not have the thousands of dollars estimated to fix the damage, which has left their property in Sydney’s west vulnerable. “Being first-home owners we don’t have the funds to spend,” Elissa told A Current Affair. “It’s not safe, anyone can just climb over it and come into our backyard.”
Her new husband added that because their home backs up to a public park — where the tree is located — people are in the area “24/7”. “If you break something, you pay for it … that’s their tree,” Anthony fumed.
Council initially declines couple's fence request
The moment the tree came crashing down on October 25, scaring their dog Peggy, was caught on the couple’s security cameras. The footage shows one of its large branches crumpling one of the metal fence’s panels.
Despite the tree being on council land, in email correspondence with the couple seen by A Current Affair, the Cumberland City Council said because the couple didn’t alert them to the danger the tree posed, they were not responsible.
“We’re not true professionals,” Elissa said. “We don’t really know what dead trees or sick trees look like.” However, the council did admit the tree has “structural issues” and will be removed as a “priority”. “Council does have in place an inspection and maintenance regime but councils simply does not have the resources to prevent such incidents,” the council reportedly said.
In a statement to the publication on Friday, a Cumberland spokesperson said the tree had been removed and the council is “arranging for its fencing contractors to attend the site and undertake the necessary replacement of the damaged fence panel as soon as possible”.
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