Footpaths: concrete is cheap… healthcare is not

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What a waste, says letter writer Greg Taylor… the nice new concrete path that replaced the “rarely used, perfectly okay path” alongside the Canberra Grammar school.

LETTERS EXTRA / footpaths, falls and failures

IAN Meikle’s recent column, “Little arrows pave way for footpath frustration” (“Seven Days”, CN February 4) had me nodding in agreement.

As a ratepayer I am happy to see my bins emptied on a weekly basis, for fresh water to come out of the taps and enjoy an occasional trip to the arboretum – but in the 16 years that I have lived in North Canberra the abysmal condition of the suburban footpaths never ceases to amaze me. 

The first job of government is to protect its people – so how many Canberra residents end up in hospital or medical centres each year after tripping over on our Third World-quality footpaths? Concrete is cheap – healthcare is not.

Greg Swinden, via email

New path replaces okay path

In “Seven Days” (CN February 4) columnist Ian Meikle reports that the ACT government’s Age Friendly Suburbs Program budget for repairing the constantly deteriorating state of pathways, at least in South Canberra, runs out of funding this year.

 What a pity, then, that so much was wasted before Christmas in the two-week-long project to duplicate the rarely used, perfectly okay path alongside the Canberra Grammar school. 

As pictured, the nice white concrete alongside the sports oval is new, the slightly dusty path on the other side of the road is the pre-existing path.

There was a similar make-work project near the Griffith shops. Meanwhile, one hell of a lot of little white arrows that could have been fixed in Red Hill remain a hazard to the walking community.

Greg Taylor, Red Hill

18 months to fix pavement

ON February 27, 2019, I was walking along Bunda Street near Gus’ Cafe when I tripped on a piece of steel projecting from the footpath. 

As I fell face-first on to the pavement, I consciously kept my body straight to even the impact. Still, there was a fair amount of blood and a shoulder injury that the radiologist tells me is permanent. 

An unknown, strong man lifted me back to my feet and two young ladies from Gus’ place patched me up. Thanks folks. 

Despite lodging an urgent request to have the pavement repaired, it took about 18 months.

I used to work on city maintenance in the 1960s when it was done by the Department of Works and am sure we did a better job.

Gordon Worrall, Torrens

Cracked slabs, few repairs

THE column “Little arrows pave way for footpath frustration” by Ian Meikle (“Seven Days”, CN February 4), laments the lack of real action by the ACT government on Canberra’s increasingly dilapidated concrete footpaths. 

Mr Meikle notes that before the October ACT election there was “a flurry of bright, new, white arrows”, after which he counted 255 sections of footpath marked for repair in one kilometre of a suburban street. He also notes that the only subsequent repairs were to “seriously decrepit slabs”.

In the footpaths of my Deakin street there are numerous cracked slabs, but hardly any evidence of recent repairs to be seen. 

Most of the cracks with a vertical displacement have simply been ground down to minimise the trip hazard and the likelihood of Mr Barr’s government being held responsible for injuries to the elderly people who use the footpaths for access to the shops and the bus stops in my street.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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