Rock on sea walk in Powell River causes fall

Resident urges caution on trails

A Powell River woman is warning people to be careful while walking on trails such as the sea walk, where her mother was injured.

Angela Skilbeck said she and her mother Joyce have been frequent users of the sea walk, and during the pandemic, continued to frequent the walk, to keep themselves healthy and get some fresh air.

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“Many messages of hope were enjoyed on the painted rocks we discovered along our walk,” said Angela. “These rocks brightened our day and the efforts that people went to in order to place them along our path was very appreciated.

“There was one particular rock, however, that led to a very unfortunate fall for my mother. Since this fall, we have not been able to enjoy the sea walk together as my mother continues to face a long road of recovery.”

The incident happened in April.

Angela said while Joyce was in the hospital due to her fall, she brought this red rock to the city’s attention.

“You likely know the rock if you are a frequent user of the sea walk as many people, including the nurses in the emergency unit, noted that they were familiar with this rock,” said Angela. “The city’s insurance representative has since noted that the city is not proactive in regard to addressing hazards on this walk, or any other walk in Powell River, and that it only responds in a reactive fashion when concerns are brought to their attention.

“It was also noted that the city assumed that someone painted the rock to make it visible for all to see but had not brought it to the attention of the city.”

Angela said she respectfully requests that if any other walkers discover potential hazards on their paths, while walking within the municipality, that they bring the city’s attention to these hazards.

“My mother has been made to feel that her unfortunate accident was entirely her fault and the city has taken no responsibility in regard to her fall,” said Angela. “The city’s claim adjuster simply noted that it was very unfortunate that she fell and sustained injury and thanked her for her anticipated understanding.

“I struggle to understand the city’s response, especially during a time when we are all being encouraged to be kind, be calm and be safe.”

Angela said perhaps it would have been more appropriate for the city’s insurance representative to write a letter thanking her for bringing this red rock to the city’s attention.

“I went as far as offering to meet a staff member on the sea walk to identify the rock but was told later that it was immediately identified by my description of its location and had been easily dug up and removed,” said Angela. “Too bad that it hadn’t been removed before an accident had to happen.”

Angela said it seems only fair to inform the rest of the community of the appropriate procedures to follow if tripping hazards or safety concerns are noted while people are out walking.

“While the efforts that someone allegedly made to paint the rock red are appreciated, the city didn’t know about the rock and it was therefore not removed,” said Angela. “This is good information to keep in mind prior to your next walk. It would appear that it is our responsibility to keep each other safe.”

Angela said she wanted to thank the two men who stopped to help her mother and her on the sea walk after the fall.

“It is good to know that as a community, we are continuing to be kind to each other despite the pandemic concerns,” said Angela.

In a letter to Joyce from Kevin Despins, senior claims adjuster with Coast Claims Insurance Services, he stated that the investigation revealed the sea walk trail in question is very widely used by the community, and while there are often rocks protruding from the gravel surface, these are not considered a hazard by most users. He stated that upon attending, the city found the rock was protruding, and in this circumstance, the small rock was able to be easily dug up and removed.

“While it is very unfortunate that you fell and sustained injury, Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia sees no liability on behalf of the City of Powell River for your injury or subsequent damages,” the letter stated. “Thank you for your anticipated understanding.”

City of Powell River chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said the city did not have a comment on the matter.

 
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