Council blamed for car park fall

Lili Stanley, of Mosgiel, sustained injuries when she tripped in the undulating Dowling St car park on New Year's Eve. Photos supplied.
Lili Stanley, of Mosgiel, sustained injuries when she tripped in the undulating Dowling St car park on New Year's Eve. Photos supplied.
A bruised and bleeding Mosgiel woman blames the Dunedin City Council for her seeing in the new year at Dunedin Hospital.

Lili Stanley (74) said she was in the Octagon on New Year's Eve with her husband Trevor (70) to watch the fireworks.

The music was too loud for the Mosgiel couple, who were not drinking, so they returned to the Dowling St car park intending to drive home.

Mrs Stanley said when she walked across the car park in flat shoes, she stepped in a large hole and stumbled and fell, injuring her face.

''I stood up and the blood spurted out of me.''

Mrs Stanley said she was wearing leather gloves and a big coat, otherwise the injuries would have been worse.

Her husband drove her to the accident and emergency department at Dunedin Hospital, where she rang in the new year while her ''slight concussion'' was monitored for more than two hours.

She warned people about the damage that could be sustained in the Dunedin City Council car park.

The Dowling St car park.
The Dowling St car park.
Mrs Stanley said the council should be ashamed of the condition of the car park and the level of negligence with its maintenance.

Council Citifleet team leader Brent Bachop said despite the Dowling St car park being ''up and down'', the council spent more money maintaining it than any other council car park.

Mr Bachop said the car park was undulating because it was built on a the site of a former building.

''Years and years ago there was a building there and when they demolished it, they just dropped it and built a car park on top of it and that is why it is constantly sinking.''

More maintenance would not stop the car park sinking, he said.

''You can throw a lot of money at that car park and it's still going to keep moving, unfortunately.''

The council regularly monitored the car park and ''patched it up''when required, Mr Bachop said.

If you walk past a pothole...

... in a carpark and don't do anything about reporting it - yes, Max_Power, we might as well be involved in our own city, it's not like there's anything difficult about reporting it to the DCC. There's an online form,  if you think it's an empty exercise and nothing will happen, tick these so you'll have a record of the complaint to prove the issue has been reported:

Would you like a receipt email? (Required)  Yes No

Would you like to know the outcome? (Required)  Yes No

Cost effective

My point is not that DCC shouldn't fix the pot holes, it's just that they can't be everywhere 24/7 to make sure they don't appear. It's not realistic that the DCC inspects every metre of the hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres of asphalt in the city. If they were to do so rates would be multiple times higher than they are now.

Having said that, the DCC should be inspecting this on a regular basis as it seems there is an ongoing problem in this particular car park. This may be the case, the sink hole possibly opening up quickly with the amount of rain with that has happened recently. Combine this with the Xmas break and it is possible may have gone unchecked for a week or more.

If you walk past a pothole in a carpark and don't do anything about reporting it then you are somewhat responsible any injury that results. I'm sure hundreds of people walked past this pot hole and didn't report it. We are grown ups and can take responsibility when we see something.

'Cost effective' nonsense

Max_Power: Oh c'mon now. Get real. What on earth has "cost effectiveness" got to do with ensuring that public thoroughfares are safe to walk on - at night - when you are aged 70 ? The onus is on the City Council to ensure this does happen. No buts! Your view sounds like an ACT party view?

Car parks and accidents

Mikeeel and Hypothermia,  any one can have an accident and I can't wait to see how your eyesight is, how steady on your feet you are when you are in your seventies.  Hone your empathy not your sarcasm.   I would say that the senior members of our society would collectively have more idea of being responsible for themselves than we who have had welfare states, ACC and OSH.

All seeing, all knowing council - not

I don't think it is realistic for the council to know where every single pothgole in the city is. It's just not cost effective to look at every council owned property, road everyday. It is our duty as residents to report pot holes and damage to council properies when we see it. Think of it as a partnership between council and resident - not a chance to blame them for everything.

That's so yesterday

"Pretty simple solution really, watch where you are walking!" says mikeeel, who is living in the past.  Today it is everyone else's responsibility to make the world safe so individuals can safely text without looking at anything but their mobile, be unaware of sound e.g. an approaching vehicle because they are listening to music, hunt in the depths of their bag or pack for something they need immediately - their phone, perhaps - while walking along the street unaware that there are other pedestrians, or across the road equally unaware of traffic because their search absorbs all their attention, across car-parks unaware that the surface may be imperfect.  

In a perfect world everyone would be perfectly safe all the time irrespective of the risks they chose to take.  Perhaps some day technology will develop a personal Bubble Of Invulnerability that will cushion us against the physical dangers of collision or falls.  Till it does I think a return to the Dark Ages of being aware of surroundings and prepared to act appropriately for one's own safety would not be a bad idea.  All this "progress" isn't working 24/7.  It's time for critical evaluation of whether 24/7 connection to sounds and to people who are somewhere else is worth the disadvantage of being disconnected from right here, right now.

Simple solution

Pretty simple solution really, watch where you are walking!  It is very obvious how bad that car park is so no use blaming the council after the fact, deal with your lack of ability to be aware of your surroundings and move on.

Poor Council response

What a poor response from Council employee Brent Bachop. Don't these people get any training in positive, proactive communications? Mrs Stanley has a legitimate complaint but all she gets is a lengthy list of excuses. How pathetic. If that subsidence had been in the middle of Dowling Street' it would have been seen and fixed quick-smart, or at least cordoned off. Obviously, Council rely on contractors to repair car park potholes, but don't bother to personally get out and ensure that such work is done quickly. I could also point out that Council could be in contravention of the OSH Act.  Sue Bidrose - time to get your employees speaking publicly in a sympathetic, and proactive manner. Not defensively and antagonistically like politicians! C,mon Sue - retrain your staff including Garbage dump Managers in how to communicate!

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