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Call to make Sumner footpaths safer

Concerned Sumner residents have called on the Christchurch City Council for urgent repairs to their walkways after an elderly tourist fell and injured herself.

Aneke van Dam, a tourist in her 80s, broke her prescription glasses in the fall and had to be treated for bad facial abrasions.

“If we want to showcase Christchurch as a good place to come to, things like these hazards really need to be kept on top of,” she said.

Mrs van Dam was on the first day of a South Island bus tour when she fell and injured herself.

Olivia_broken footpaths
Hazards underfoot: Two tourists tripped and fell on Sumner’s quake-damaged footpaths. One broke her glasses in the fall and had to be treated for facial abrasions. PHOTO: Olivia Bascand.

Mrs Kent told the board that two elderly tourists had fallen on damaged paths that week.

Take It Easy tour bus operator Maree Adams said the accident was distressing.

“She was extremely lucky not to break any bones.”

Mrs Adams said the loss of Mrs van Dam’s glasses meant that her sight – and her tourism experience – would be impaired for the rest of her tour down the East Coast.

Mrs Kent told the community board that it might be a courtesy for the council to replace van Dam’s glasses.

The association has previously requested repairs for the suburb’s pathways, but Mrs Kent said it often took a while to deal with the issues. Mrs Kent sent the council photos, requests for service and GPS points for an earlier issue on their roads, but said it took a while for them to fix it.

“I truly sympathise with the council because of the mammoth job they have to mend this whole city,” she said.

But Mrs Kent wants to see the council come together with the Sumner community to solve footpath hazards together.

Hagley-Ferrymead councillor Yani Johanson said New Brighton faced the same issue.

“It appears what has happened is that roads and footpaths that are waiting for SCIRT repairs are not being maintained,” he said.

Councillors were hearing the same complaints from other communities too.

“I think it’s mainly a financial issue,” Johanson said. “There’s not enough money to do the work”. 

_Olivia Bascand for the Bay Harbour News