Trees lifting and tripping

Bruce Scanlon with his injury. Photo: Andrew Campbell.

Bethlehem resident Bruce Scanlon tripped and injured himself near the intersection of Westmoreland Rise and Athfield Drive a few weeks ago, and blames the roadside trees shedding leaves over the concrete footpath slabs that are being lifted by the tree roots.

The 80-year-old says he’s not doddery, he walks three or four kilometres every day around the neighbourhood.

“Just by the Carrus office there the footpath was covered in a whole lot of leaves. Next thing I tripped over. Arse over kite I went.

“I smashed two fingers, got a badly bruise third finger. The orthopaedic surgeon, he wanted to operate and put pins in there but it mightn’t be any better.”

He’s not the only one to fall for the combination of slippery leaves and raised footpath slabs, says Bruce. A year ago a woman also tripped and injured herself. Some residents have painted the edges of lifted slabs in white, to alert pedestrians.

After the fall Bruce did a little survey of his regular walking routes. He found another four raised concrete footpath slabs in Athfield Drive, about six on Carmichael Rd, another four in Westmorland Rise. Chater Ave and Redhaven Place are also affected.

“They have got about 30 slabs all lifting up about an inch. It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” says Bruce.

“Everyone’s complaining about the leaves but that’s not the real problem. You wouldn’t walk down there at night. The only safe place to walk in Athfield Drive is down the street.

“Because we have got these trees and they are getting worse and worse. The whole subdivision they have got these trees through them, and every damn footpath is lifting up. You have got to be so damn careful.”

“People complained about it, but I don’t think anybody listens in the council. I rang the council and they said they would take a note of all this. But the footpaths need to be lifted and the roots chopped out from under.”

Tauranga City Council communications advisor Marcel Currin says it’s been logged for repair, possibly in the next few weeks.

It’s a problem that affects many suburbs where trees that were planted along narrow grass berms are starting to raise the footpaths as they grow bigger.

“These days the council has a better process where arborists inspect new developments to recommend appropriate species and locations for tree planting,” says Marcel.

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Posted on 20-06-2017 11:18 | By Loopy101

Maybe if your used your brain and thought about how elderly people can have a lot of trouble with mobility, and that it isn’t always easy for them to spot issues like this. The path needs fixing end of. None of this is the elderly mans fault all the council.

Hey Old man

Posted on 18-06-2017 17:48 | By NZgirl

Pick your feet up

Trees are doomed!

Posted on 18-06-2017 16:12 | By Mackka

No doubt they will be ripped out. They are so beautiful in this suburb too! Go look at the trees - all deciduous, growing between all the footpaths and the roads in Sydney and Melbourne - have a look at the state of those footpaths with their roots making humps around the trees on the sealed foot paths. No one complains - they know to walk carefully. Never thought I’d be on the side of the ’Greens’!! Leave the trees alone and do something more sustainable with the slabs.

typical council

Posted on 18-06-2017 12:20 | By Darth Vader NZ

This is a health and safety issue and must be registered as such its the only way the council will act on it promptly the council would promptly prosecute any rate payer if they found they were in breach of or causing a health and safety danger ... play them at their own game insist this a health and safety matter and it needs to be addressed immediately as it has already caused harm/injury instead of being fobbed off with they will address it in a couple of weeks