NAMBUCCA Shire Council has detailed the timeline of its response to remove a fallen tree – subsequently involved in a fatal accident – from a roadway at Valla at the weekend.
There has been a suggestion that council acted too slowly to clear the tree – prompting general manager Michael Coulter to provide an explanatory advice to council.
A 43-year-old man suffered serious injuries when the car he was driving hit the large tree which had come down across Valla Rd on Saturday near the intersection of Sullivans Rd. The man has since died.
In the advice to council on the matter:
“At 3pm on Saturday 5 January 2019 the GM was contacted by the media for comment on an allegation by a member of the public that council was negligent in not promptly attending to an after-hours call-out to remove a tree which had fallen across Valla Road.
“The journalist advised that the person making the allegation had taken a photograph of the fallen tree about 30 minutes before a vehicle hit the tree, seriously injuring the driver who later died.
“It was also alleged to the media they had difficultly reporting the fallen tree to council’s out of hours call centre which is operated by Southern Phone.
“The mayor subsequently contacted the GM after seeing the media report on NBN news that night.
“A subsequent check of logged times indicated council staff received the request to remove the fallen tree via Southern Phone at 5.46am on Saturday 5 January and were on site at 6.30am (arriving at the same time as the police attending the accident).
“Given staff had to get from their homes to the depot at Macksville to get a truck and equipment and then drive to Valla the response time was reasonable.
“At approximately 5.45am the following day 6 January the GM tested the out of hours number by calling the Southern Phone call centre. There was no problem contacting them.”
Based on this it would seem that the accident was a tragic misadventure and that Council cannot be reasonably blamed for causing the accident.”