A Rotorua woman has raised safety concerns about an uneven section of footpath after suffering two black eyes, bruised ribs, scraped nose and damage to her shoulder in a bad fall.
Ann Sullivan is this week nursing her injuries after tripping over a joining of pavement at the corner of Grey St and Lytton St on Friday.
Sullivan, who is aged in her late 70s, said the state of the footpath was dangerous not just to her, but to other Glenholme residents. She was particularly concerned for the many other seniors living and walking in the area, particularly those using walking frames.
And the council says it is taking the matter "extremely seriously" and has fixed the hazard temporarily.
Sullivan is an active pensioner. She leads the Rotorua U3A walking and tramping group and works ratlines at lakes Tikitapu and Rotokakahi (Blue and Green lakes). She is also a long-time member of the Rotorua Tramping Club, heads the local neighbourhood support and enjoys square-dancing each week.
She had been walking home from town to Grey St when "I just went flat into this raised bit of Lytton St".
Sullivan said the height difference between what appeared to be two different footpaths was about 3cm. However, there had been no warning, no sign and no fence indicating the hazard.
"I didn't see it at all. I just walked and the next thing I knew, I was landing on my head.
"It's just a different level, it's pretty lethal," she said.
At the time of the fall, Sullivan was helped by a man wearing high-vis who had been parked across the road.
"He came and stayed with me for a bit. He looked at it and said 'yeah, yeah, yeah, it was bad'. He said he would paint it."
After receiving treatment at the local medical centre, Sullivan noticed on her return home that a bright orange warning line had been painted on the join between the two paths.
Sullivan was appreciative of the man's actions and wanted to thank him but also said the footpath "needs to be level".
Council chief executive Geoff Williams said the hazard had been fixed, albeit temporarily.
Williams said the council was deeply concerned at what happened and that Sullivan had sustained such significant injuries. The council had since been in touch with Sullivan, he said.
"Ensuring public facilities and amenities are safe for our community to use is very important so we take this matter extremely seriously."
Council contractor InfraCore made temporary repairs until the section of the footpath could be replaced. That would happen once water mains renewal work that was currently under way was finished, which was expected to be within a month, Williams said.
"The problem appears to have arisen due to a portion of footpath sinking, creating a 2 to 3cm lip, but we cannot categorically say how that was caused. It may have happened over a period of time. We have no record of any previous reports about this and regrettably, it was not noticed by those working on water mains renewal nearby."
Williams said the council was also grateful to the surveyor "who immediately marked the footpath" after Sullivan's fall.
The issue was referred to InfraCore after Sullivan contacted the council on Monday. It was then referred back to the council and was fixed on Tuesday.
Fellow Grey St resident Pat Leatherland said the state of footpaths in Glenholme, in general, was "awful".
"All the pavements are in shocking condition. My husband has a mobility scooter and he gets stuck sometimes. They are really bad, just with cracks and bumps and crumbling away.
"The one where Ann tripped, anyone could have tripped there. She's very fit."
Leatherland said older people probably made up 90 per cent of the suburb and Sullivan was right to be concerned for their safety on the footpaths.
In Rotorua, there are about 412km of concrete, bitumen and cobblestone footpaths and damage can be caused by the likes of geothermal environment, vehicles, tree roots and occasionally weather. It is not possible for the council to inspect all footpaths on a daily basis so it encouraged and relied on people to help identify damage or issues that needed attention.
Safety issues were dealt with as a priority and people could report issues by calling the council on 07 348 4199.