Cold shoulder

Chris O’Connor’s had 18 footpaths fixed so far after learning Vincent council only fixes what’s reported. Photo by David Bell

BEWARE cracked footpaths or uneven paving: Vincent council won’t accept liability for injuries unless they’ve previously been warned about specific problem spots. 

Vincent resident Chris O’Connor reckons locals should start reporting every trip hotspot after his experience of being palmed off when he had a fall on a hazardous stretch near the corner of Vincent and Fitzgerald Streets. 

“Where do you stand if you happen to fall?” he pondered in response to his fall last year.

“Interestingly enough, on your own and apparently 100 per cent responsible.”

Mr O’Connor says Vincent administration were lovely and helpful when he contacted them about the fall, but after that he hit a dead end.

“My still-to-be resolved resultant shoulder injury necessitated my putting in an insurance claim that was rejected by the City of Vincent, using the Civil Liability Act 2002, which provides protection to councils based on the premise that if they didn’t know about the footpath hazard, then they cannot be held responsible for any resultant injuries.

“On that basis, I have since sent notifications to the Council of approximately 18 potential footpath hazards, with photos and addresses, which have unsurprisingly solicited an immediate response in fixing each problem.

“The council’s stated preference for reacting to these footpath issues after public notification, in my case after falling and injuring myself ‚Äî collateral damage I guess ‚Äî does need to be balanced with a more proactive monitoring and maintenance of those footpaths by the council.

“Until then, I suggest we all notify the council of potential footpath trip hazards. They will react!”

Mr O’Connor was told by Vincent staff that they currently review footpaths once every three years and the council seemed happy with that level of service. 

Mr O’Connor, 68, says his main concern now is for folk who aren’t as sturdy and might suffer a worse injury.

The council’s upcoming draft Accessible City Strategy aims to make the town more walkable for everyone but lists no change to the three year checks.

Mayor Emma Cole tells us “every year, we invest in Vincent’s footpaths and our various teams, from parks to engineering and rangers, proactively and regularly report damaged footpaths. Our community members also help us by reporting issues they find. 

“This financial year, we are spending $200,000 on footpath renewal and last financial year we spent $380,000 on footpath and cycle way maintenance. 

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