The path to compensation

Last updated 08:53 17/07/2014
Aaron Branks
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
OUT OF POCKET: Redwoodtown woman Joan Adams wants the council to pay for the new pair of glasses she had to buy after tripping on an uneven footpath near her home.

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A Blenheim woman wants the Marlborough District Council to cover the full cost of a new pair of glasses after she fell on an uneven footpath.

The council did offer to go halves on Joan Adams' new glasses, but she is determined they should pay in full.

The 76-year-old tripped on the footpath near her home in Weld St on March 15, and was left with a black eye and broken glasses.

She was treated and discharged from hospital, but ended up with an $814 bill for a new pair of glasses.

She contacted the council on March 27 to raise her concerns, saying they were responsible for the accident because of the dangerous state of the footpath.

It was up to them to pay the cost of replacing her glasses, she said.

"Most would claim insurance and just absorb the $300 [excess] and I think to myself I should have done that in the first place but I don't give up easy . . . I won't be happy till it's done," Adams said.

Council assets and service manager Mark Wheeler said council did not accept that the section of footpath had been extremely bad.

Marlborough Roads had a policy where they levelled any paving slabs that were raised by more than one centimetre, Wheeler said. "In this case it was just under that," he said.

The council originally thought the path had been made uneven by contractors putting in a new service connection, but acknowledged responsibility after looking into it more closely, Wheeler said.

Because the footpath was only just up to "level of service" standards, the council offered to pay $407 to Adams, half the cost of her new glasses, he said.

They thought this was a "fair arrangement", given the footpath had been up to standard, he said.

Adams did not accept the offer, maintaining the council should cover the full cost of the glasses. "I won't accept [their offer] for all the tea in China . . . I would rather clean out sewage pits."

Since the incident in March, contractors had ground down the surface she tripped on, but there was still a lip on it, Adams said.

She was concerned about the state of the whole footpath, opposite Countdown Redwoodtown, given the large number of elderly people who used it to get to the shops in Redwoodtown.

Wheeler said the state of Marlborough footpaths was an issue for the future, as was whether they needed to introduce a revised level of service standard.

Councillors would be discussing all levels of service at the end of August and footpaths would "definitely" be discussed, he said.

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kat.duggan@mex.co.nz

- The Marlborough Express

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