Sandblasting recommended for tiles

Taking a tumble on Timaru's slippery tiles could soon be a thing of the past.

Options to resolve the troublesome issue in the central business district were considered at yesterday's Timaru District Council district services committee meeting.

The options ranged from full replacement, partial replacement, modification or additional coating.

The preferred options among councillors was to sandblast the tiles, or coat them with an anti-slip resistant coating. Both options would give pedestrians more grip when walking on them.

Late last year councillors voted to form a working group to develop an upgrade concept for the town, setting aside $50,000 for the coming year and another $500,000 allocated in each of the two following years.

Feedback from the community following that announcement suggested slippery tiles were one of the main issues the money, or part of it, should be spent on.

The committee noted the slippery tiles were a "high priority" issue.

A range of people have spoken out about the need for improvements to the tiles, which surface a vast area of Timaru footpaths.

One woman, in her 20s, spoke out in 2012 after she slipped backwards, smacking her head, back and shoulders on the tiles. Another woman, in her 70s, explained how she tripped and cracked her knee on the cobblestones lining the edge of Stafford St.

Committee members yesterday recommended tiles in some parts of the central business district be sandblasted and coated with a slip-proof grip over a three-month trial basis to determine the best solution.

It has yet to be decided when the trial will begin.

Council district services manager Ashley Harper said the Royal Arcade was one area being considered for the trial.

The Timaru Herald