Bettina Ryan damaged her car when she hit a pothole on Coraki Rd, South Gundurimba, at base of MacMahons Rd.
Bettina Ryan damaged her car when she hit a pothole on Coraki Rd, South Gundurimba, at base of MacMahons Rd. Cathy Adams

‘Gigantor’ pothole wrecked my car, now I want council to pay

A MCKEE'S Hill woman is trying to show Lismore City Council is liable for damages to her car after she hit a pothole she claims was impossible to avoid.

Bettina Ryan was travelling along Coraki Rd at South Gundurimba recently when she came upon a crest in the road. She said she could not swerve around the pothole - which she dubbed 'Gigantor'- because she could not see if there was any oncoming traffic. And she said there was not enough room to go off the road to the left of the pothole.

USELESS TRIVIA: Gigantor is a giant flying robot, controlled with a remote control, created for a Japanese anime series in the 1950s and adapted by US in the 1960s. It's most recent incarnation was in The New Adventures of Gigantor on the Sci Fi channel in the 1990s.
USELESS TRIVIA: Gigantor is a giant flying robot, controlled with a remote control, created for a Japanese anime series in the 1950s and adapted by US in the 1960s. It's most recent incarnation was in The New Adventures of Gigantor on the Sci Fi channel in the 1990s.

"It was a dangerous situation the council placed me in by not having the road up to a decent standard and they should be liable for that," she said.

Ms Ryan said her Suzuki Swift suffered damage to the front spoiler which was cracked and chipped in several places and a wheel rim was bent and needs to be replaced. She estimates the total cost of repairs at $2000.

She called the council soon after the incident and they sent someone to fill the pothole.

She also put her concern in writing and got a response from the council saying that: "The High Court of Australia has confirmed that Councils are not insurers for the absolute safety of users of roads and footpaths under their control, and in order to establish liability against Council you must first establish negligence on Council's part."

The letter goes on to say: "It is the responsibility of all drivers to drive according to the conditions and keep a proper lookout for surface defects, road debris, water and ice, animals and the like."

"I could have been killed and/or killed other drivers in this incident if there had been any oncoming traffic when the rim cracked and air blew out my tyre," Ms Ryan said.

"My car careered to the wrong side of the road without warning."

Ms Ryan said she intended to lodge a dispute with the NSW Ombudsman because she believed the complaint was handled unsatisfactorily by the council.

Storm-damaged roads

WHILE ex-tropical cyclone Marcia didn't deliver on rainfall predictions, enough precipitation fell across the Northern Rivers to further damage our roads.

Coastal and border regions of the Northern Rivers bore the brunt of the rain, with Byron Bay receiving 259mm, Murwillumbah 253mm and Mullumbimby 245mm in the seven days to 9am Wednesday.

Despite Byron Bay copping the biggest deluge, according to council no roads in the shire were storm damaged.

Director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said Byron shire had no roads that could be considered storm damaged, but many streets had potholes as a result of the wet weather.

"Work crews will be filling potholes throughout the shire in coming weeks," he said.

A Richmond Valley Council spokeswoman said 75km of council's unsealed road network was inundated by rain.

The worst unsealed roads in the Richmond Valley, Bungawalbyn-Whiporie Rd, Elliotts Rd, Avenue Rd, Coraki-Ellangowan Rd and Swan Bay-New Italy Rd, could take up to 10 weeks to repair.

The Northern Star contacted the Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley councils to compile this list of the worst storm-damaged roads in the region.

Ballina

  • Houghlahans Creek Rd
  • Phillips Rd

Byron

None

Kyogle

  • Bingebeebra Rd
  • Collins Creek Rd
  • Collins Valley Rd
  • Boorabee Creek Rd
  • O'Donnells Rd causeway

Lismore

  • Coraki Rd
  • Wyrallah Rd
  • Kyogle Rd
  • Casino Rd
  • Dunoon Rd

Richmond Valley

  • Casino-Woodburn Rd
  • Old Tenterfield Rd
  • Wyan Rd
  • Rappville Rd
  • Tatham-Ellangowan Rd


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