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Woman fractures hip, arm after falling on Blenheim's 'slip resistant' pavers

A Marlborough woman is being forced to spend Christmas “doing nothing” after a slip on town centre pavers left her with serious injuries.

Marlborough woman Sandie Wooster has had to cancel plans to spend Christmas in Christchurch after a slip in Blenheim’s town centre left her unable to walk. Source: Local Democracy Reporting

Sandie Wooster was walking into the central business district last Monday when she fell, suffering two fractures to her hip and one to her arm.

Since the accident, Wooster had spent her days bedridden, with her husband helping her move about, shower, and go to the toilet.

She had to cancel plans to see her son in Christchurch for Christmas, and feared she would be unable to return to work as a receptionist when her workplace reopened in mid-January.

“It's taken everything,” she said, tearing up.

This Christmas would instead be spent at home “doing nothing”.

She would hear today, two days before Christmas, whether doctors needed to replace the ball of her shoulder socket.

The Marlborough District Council last year scuffed up the pavers in Blenheim to make them “slip resistant”, following reports of injuries.

Wooster said she had laid a complaint with Marlborough Roads over the tiles, urging for more to be done on Blenheim's presentability.

“The shops used to be water blasted once a week. Now, they're not ... There are broken tiles outside [Hotel] d’Urville,” she said.

“These tiles were greasy ... The town looks dirty.”

Marlborough Roads manager Steve Murrin said there had been no complaints of slippage since the tiles had been upgraded.

The product used to make the tiles more slip resistant used an acid-etching system to break down the glaze on the tiles, providing more texture, and therefore more grip, Murrin said.

Tiles had been tested in wet weather and with different shoes.

The product was promised to last five years, and cost $350,000.

“If people come across slippery tiles, just let us know, because even though the tiles have been acid-etched someone could drop grease on them, and we would need to clean that off,” he said.

The owner of the convenience store outside which Wooster fell said the path out front was cleaned each night.

It had also been water blasted the week before, he said.

“We didn't know there had been a fall. We would have helped.”

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) was asked how many people made claims this year after slipping on footpaths in Marlborough, but it could not respond in time for publication.

In a separate incident, iHair employee Gail Silcock said she saw a 76-year-old woman take a tumble near the Market Pl clock tower about a month ago.

“The tiles took her feet from underneath her,” she said.

Silcock and others used towels to keep the woman comfortable and warm until an ambulance arrived, fearful of serious injuries.

The woman only suffered a bruise to the hip, she said.

“But because of that, I tell people to be careful where they walk whenever it's raining. I, myself, have slipped around the corners.”