Death sparks safety push

FOOTPATH safety in Melville is under the spotlight following a freak accident that caused the death of a skateboarder in Palmyra last Friday. 

Troy Connell (43) was skating down the McKimmie Road footpath with a pizza in one hand and a bottle of beer in his pocket when he hit an uneven join in the concrete and fell, severing an artery in his leg. Bystanders were unable to stem the bleeding before paramedics arrived and Mr Connell died at the scene.

Following his death the Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association said there were many trouble spots in Melville which the council needed to address.

In a statement issued to the Herald, the association said it was mindful of not politicising Mr Connell’s death, but it believed Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley and councillor Karen Wheatland had been more proactive in dealing with safety issues than the city’s admin.

“The council should revise the city’s footpath reworks prioritisation and budget to ensure that fixing up the existing, dangerous high traffic footpaths is the number one priority ahead of installing new footpaths in low traffic and low density residential areas,” the MRRA said in its statement.

Cr Wheatland recently launched a community safety awareness campaign amongst ratepayers to report any hazards they see, including trip hazards on footpaths.

“The idea won’t take long to grow legs,” Cr Wheatland said.

“For local government to fix something, they need to know about it, and people need to be educated on the process of approaching the council about such things.”

Cr Wheatland said suburbs such as Palmyra have a tight-knit community atmosphere, and it was important that people looked out for one another and helped prevent hardship caused by injury.

“We need to be proactive instead of reactive,” she said.

“If people don’t report little incidents and hazards then something worse could happen in the future; we need to protect one another.

The MRRA raised questions at the council’s May 2019 monthly meeting about damages claims against the council and its contractors. The council would not elaborate, saying any claims settled by its insurers were “commercial in confidence” and its contractors managed their own insurance. It did say there had been no negligence claims since January 2016.

The City of Melville’s Infrastructure Strategy outlines an additional $5.6 million in new paths and upgrading existing ones over the next 16 years.

by KRISTEN RICCIARDI 

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