On Monday morning (Nov. 30) a tree fell during a windstorm at the Sand Pebbles Inn, damaging a canopy and crushing a vehicle. (Valerie Baker photo)

On Monday morning (Nov. 30) a tree fell during a windstorm at the Sand Pebbles Inn, damaging a canopy and crushing a vehicle. (Valerie Baker photo)

Man waits on next move after car crushed following windstorm in Qualicum Beach

‘It was just like a small hurricane’

What happens when a tree crushes your car? Nanaimo resident Todd Milligan knows all too well.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 30, Milligas heard a loud smash and shattering of glass from outside his room at the Sand Pebbles Inn in Qualicum Beach. As he stepped outside, he found that half a tree had blown over and caved in the roof of his Dodge Challenger.

“It was just like a small hurricane,” he said. “And I was getting pummelled by pine cones, I’m not kidding.”

Environment Canada issued a public alert for the east coast of Vancouver Island the day before, warning that southeasterly winds could reach possible highs of 90 km/h.

His initial reaction upon seeing his crumpled vehicle was ‘not happy’ in this ‘negative situation’ but he was admittedly relieved that no one was killed.

The car hadn’t been moved since it was parked at 5 p.m. the night before. Milligan said he chose that location because it was well-lit and in view of cameras. Whenever parking is tight, he said, he would occasionally park his car further down if there were no other options, but security was on the forefront of his mind.

Worried that the rest of the tree would come down, Milligan alerted inn staff members, who then contacted a tree service to remove the remainder of the rooted tree.

“I asked them (tree service) how many pounds did they think that tree was, and they said about 5,000 pounds,” he said.

READ MORE: Tree tumbles during heavy winds, crushes car at inn in Qualicum Beach

Milligan estimated the tree limb that crushed his car was approximately 60 feet in length.

Shortly after, was he on the phone with ICBC to report the incident and file a claim. Since Monday though, Milligan said ICBC has yet to call him back.

“They basically said ‘don’t phone us, we’ll phone you.’ And I have a loan on this car, so I don’t know what’s happening with that, unfortunately.”

He imagines the car will be “a total loss” but can’t say for sure until ICBC starts the dialogue.

Milligan said he is prepared to get a lawyer if need be.

Fortunately he was able to obtain a rental car through his insurance, but still finds it an inconvenience, he said.

Ideally he would like his own, or possibly another, Dodge Challenger back.


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