Debris hits teen exiting Centre City

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012
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JONATHAN CAMERON
Mikayla Archer
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A piece of falling debris from renovation work at New Plymouth's Centre City mall hit Mikayla Archer on Wednesday.

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Safety concerns for shoppers have been raised by a teenager hit by a piece of falling debris from renovation work at New Plymouth's Centre City mall.

Mikayla Archer, 17, said she was walking out of the shopping centre's entrance near Currie St about 3.45pm on Wednesday when a large piece of cement board fell from the second story, hitting her and knocking a fence over on top of her.

The accident injured a shoulder she was already waiting to have surgery on.

Renovations have been underway for several months at Centre City and Ms Archer said her accident made her fear for the safety of others around the shopping centre while the work continues.

"It could have been anyone, an old lady or a little kid. There was a mother with a baby walking just behind me who looked so shocked and scared," Ms Archer said.

Centre City declined to comment yesterday, and Fletchers, which is carrying out the work at the shopping centre, did not return calls.

The Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry (Mobie) told the Taranaki Daily News it will not be making further inquiries into the incident because "it did not meet the criteria to qualify as serious harm".

But Ms Archer's mother, Joanne Watson, said Mobie's decision was disgusting.

"No, she hasn't broken a bone or spent 48 hours in hospital but there could be ligament damage which could be much worse.

"She was already injured and it might just be a blip of an accident to them but the knock-on effects for us are huge."

Ms Archer said she was visited by Fletchers staff yesterday and the company had sent her flowers.

Her mother had arrived shortly after the accident and took her to Taranaki Base Hospital, where her arm was put in a sling and she was told she would not be able to work until the damage to her shoulder can be assessed.

Ms Archer, a school-leaver, may not be able to write in her final exams and was about to start working full-time at Starbucks so she could save money to study towards a bachelor of social work in Auckland next year.

"I'm worried I'm going to lose my job."

She is also the president of Canteen Taranaki. Her sister Emma Watson, 5, was the face of the Child Cancer Foundation in 2011 after being diagnosed with leukaemia when she was aged 2.

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Ms Archer has spent the last 10 months recovering from an injury to her shoulder from falling off a trapeze and was waiting for surgery in January. On Friday she will see an orthopaedic specialist to see whether that operation can still go ahead.

- Taranaki Daily News

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