A young woman with cerebral palsy was in her wheelchair when the tyre buckled under her after hitting a section of "poorly aligned" walkway - causing her to be trapped until help arrived.
And it's not the first time such an accident has happened on Molesworth Drive in Mangawhai.
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Juanita Marsden's sister Stephanie Masiutama is now advocating on her behalf and demanding the Kaipara District Council rectify issues with the walkway to prevent a more serious accident and she has support from local councillor Jonathan Larsen and her community.
"A couple of weeks ago we went for a whanau walk down to the markets in the village. My sister uses an electric wheelchair when we are out and about and while heading towards the Molesworth bridge she's got to the driveway, just before the bridge and has gone up on to the driveway and her tyre has buckled.
"This same place is where she got stuck last year on her way to the school gala at Mangawhai Beach School and a passerby has stopped and helped her out of the pothole," Masiutama said.
As a result of the accident Marsden, 24, is now without a wheelchair for upwards of a week while they wait for it to be fixed.
"It's not sitting properly and I will have to get wheelchair services in Whangārei to repair it which means she will not be able to use her chair for her day programme."
Masiutama said KDC has refused to pay for the cost to fix it.
"It's very upsetting. For my sister it makes her not want to come out with us on walks or to go to shops like she wants to. Because every time she does, she either gets stuck or gets her chair damaged and fixing it takes quite a lot of time. Her wheelchair is her independence out in the community."
Masiutama said it's time the council stepped up and sorted out the issues with what she and many others in the community thought was a footpath.
A post to Facebook where she shared her concerns about the walkway not being a footpath and therefore unable to be fixed by council saw many members of the community get behind her.
Shadie Haturini said, "That's bull***. So many people use that walkway. People of all ages. That's just dumb for council to say it's not a footpath."
Catherine Frame said, "The sooner the [walkway is fixed] the better before there's an nasty accident."
However, a Kaipara District Council spokesman said the walkway is not a footpath and therefore not their responsibility.
"This area along Molesworth is not part of our network, and we currently only maintain the vegetation on the roadway."
However, they did say that there are plans as part of the Mangawhai Community Plan to turn what is a "people formed" track into a shared path.
"So, once Mangawhai Central, which is the large development on Molesworth Drive, have got their road design and any changes we'll have a better idea of what space we've got to work with to create a shared path along Molesworth Drive."
When asked how long this might take, the spokesman said: "It could be a couple years away yet."
However, Mangawhai ward councillor Jonathan Larsen said the walkway needs to be upgraded to a footpath now.
"I have been battling to try to get this footpath sorted as a matter of urgency for several years, it's a health and safety issue."
Furthermore Larsen said the community is confused about the walkway with many thinking it is actually a footpath and is therefore heavily used.
"That area has been subdivided and two years ago, I cited it as an urgent matter as a safety issue and put it on the council agenda to try to get a footpath built."
But he says sadly, his motion was ultimately voted down.
Larsen said he will continue to lobby council to fix the walkway sooner rather than later and will try to get it on the council agenda again.
"It just needs to be done. Operationally, we can't get any NZTA funding for it, we are going to have to bring it back to council and get it done as a matter of urgency and just move the budgets around."
But a solution can't come soon enough for Marsden and her family.
"I just want them to hurry up and do something about the paths people use, especially from Maz down to the Molesworth bridge because someone will get hurt soon, my daughter has fallen from her bike in a pothole on these paths and lucky it wasn't into oncoming traffic."
Dargaville water supply rumours unfounded
There have been rumours saying Dargaville may only have two weeks supply of water left - but the Kaipara District Council says that's just not true.
Kelsi Wood posted to the Dargaville Grapevine page asking if anyone could confirm comments that said there was only two weeks of water left.
"I saw something online last night, indicating that Dargaville had only two weeks of water left, can someone please direct me to where it was posted or whom posted this info please, as we are in the process of drawing up a contingency plan in my workplace for the possibility of no water.
"I cannot find anything on the council website," she said.
People replied that they too had seen a post that said there was only two weeks supply left.
But a Kaipara District Council spokesman has said no, it's simply not true.
"From the information we have from the Northland Regional Council, the projection is that for the Dargaville supply, we will still be able to utilise the river flows until the end of April (9-10 weeks).
"The river flows are expected to be low, however, with permission from the Northland Regional Council, town supply will be prioritised even at lower flows after that. This is part of the preparation work we're undertaking as forward planning as the 'big dry' period is set to continue."
New Technology improves safety at schools
New road safety measures are being introduced outside several Kaipara schools to help make drivers more aware they are approaching school zones and need to slow down.
Work was completed a week ago with new Variable Speed Signs erected outside Dargaville High and Dargaville Primary schools.
The signs have a range of features to make them more visible, including illuminated signage on each side of the road and flashing LED lights. The flashing lights will be activated automatically as cars approach, reminding them of the 50km/h speed sign, dropping to 40km/h for 30 minutes before and after school.
Across Kaipara other safety improvements will be occurring, including changes to pedestrian crossings at Te Kopuru, Selwyn Park, Maungatūroto, Dargaville Primary, Intermediate and High School and Mangawhai Beach School.
Kaipara District Council infrastructure manager Jim Sephton said, "We're improving the signage and notices at schools to make it more visible to drivers. Keeping our children safe and reducing the risk to them and their whanau around schools is a big part of our safety focus in Kaipara.
"School starts and finishes can make quiet roads busy, and this should remind those in cars to be mindful that kids, parents and school buses are moving about."
The new safety improvements have been budgeted to cost $347,000 for the 2019/2020 year.
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