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Left bruised and battered

Carterton woman Val Tapp, 91, at the spot where she fell last Thursday, tripping on cracks in the footpath. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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Carterton woman Val Tapp’s face is black and blue and one of her eyes still bright red after she tripped on a large, raised crack in the footpath on Belvedere Rd last Thursday.

Tapp, 91, who was hospitalised for three days, said doctors were concerned she might have had a brain bleed.

She said on Monday she was still suffering bad headaches from the lump on her head and felt her face looked too “ugly” for her to go to her weekly housie game.

Tapp says her vision in her right eye is still impaired as the swelling hasn’t gone down, but she is taking extra pain killers. She has been in touch with the council about the footpath.

“They need to know that these raised cracks on the footpaths are dangerous for the elderly, and there are plenty of us around here,” Tapp said.

The council has confirmed it received a call about the cracks on the Belvedere Rd footpath from Tapp.

A spokesperson said it had made an urgent service request for a staff member to review the area “with a view to make urgent repairs”.

Tapp takes a walk most days and was going to the dairy at about 6pm that day for a loaf of bread when she tripped and landed on her face just before the Belvedere Store.

The owners came out to help her and called for an ambulance.

Store owner Divya Patel said that the cracks on the footpath were large and dangerous near the store.

“The egg on her head was huge,” Patel said.

“She is lucky really, but these cracks are dangerous for the elderly. In fact they are dangerous for everyone walking for exercise.

“The older ones in particular need to walk to keep fit and the council needs to prioritise making them safer,” she said.

Carterton District Council councillor Rob Stockley heard Carterton resident Neil Hickland’s address to the infrastructure and services meeting on November 11 about overhanging trees, tree roots, and other footpath hazards.

Subsequently, he decided to walk with Hickland on his usual daily 45-minute walk a week ago.

He said he told Hickland it was a good idea for people to contact the council when they saw things around the neighbourhood they wanted fixed.

“It is good if residents can get on to the council website and go to the ‘contact us’ tab and put in a service request to draw attention to the problem,” Stockley said.

“We would like to prevent accidents and know about hazards in advance. There is a budget allocated each year for footpath maintenance, and so it is useful to be made aware of problem areas,” he said.

Infrastructure, services and regulatory manager David Gittings said the council prioritises footpath renewals based on the proximity to locations relevant to older people and makes urgent repairs to any areas which pose a health and safety risk.

Council had allocated $95,000 to be spent on footpath resurfacing for the year ending June 2021 and $315,900 for ‘pavement rehabilitation’.

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