New Brunswick

Saint John senior seeks street fix after she tripped, suffered concussion

A 66-year-old Saint John woman is raising concerns about the condition of some city streets after she tripped and fell on some construction-related asphalt patchwork in front of her seniors complex.

Terry Albright, 66, worries other elderly residents at Admiral Beatty Complex uptown could break hips or worse

Terry Albright, who suffered a concussion in a fall near the Admiral Beatty Complex in Saint John, wants the city to fix the street and sidewalk outside the building. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Terry Albright, 66, has a concussion, two black eyes right down to her cheeks, a scraped-up nose and ruined eyeglasses.

She says she stumbled on some construction-related asphalt patchwork at the crosswalk in front of her seniors' complex in uptown Saint John last Sunday.

"It was a nice evening [and] I wanted to have my tea over in the park with a couple of friends that I saw there [at King's Square] and as I was crossing over … I'm pretty careful about it, but you know, I just I tripped and next thing I know I'm doing a faceplant," she said.

Albright says she contemplated putting out her hands to break her fall, but was more worried about possibly breaking both her wrists than her nose.

If somebody falls and breaks a hip or something, that could be the kiss of death for them.- Terry Albright, senior

She considers herself lucky.

"I take blood-thinning medication and I hit my head, so I mean, the concussion was really a kiss compared to what it could be.

"Worst-case scenario, a person in that situation could even die you know, from a brain bleed or something."

Fix needed

Albright worries about her fellow residents at the Admiral Beatty Complex and wants the city to do something to fix the street and sidewalk in front of the building at 14 King Square South, which have been a mess for years between the renovations next door at the Imperial Theatre and the construction of the new Irving Oil headquarters on the corner.

At one point, loose gravel was scattered across the crosswalk.

"I've actually run out of my apartment a couple of times because I've seen people trying to cross, and they were struggling. They looked like they were going to fall."

Albright says the city's crumbling asphalt could be a lawsuit waiting to happen during cruise-ship season, when a lot of U.S. visitors wander around the uptown. (Julia Wright/CBC)

She saw a man fall "flat on his back." A lady broke her wrist "not too long ago," and another lady took a tumble in the past few days but didn't get hurt.

"I'm relatively young compared to a lot of the people that are here … I can bounce back pretty well ," said Albright. "But you know, if somebody falls and breaks a hip or something, that could be the kiss of death for them."

Unacceptable, says councillor

Coun. David Hickey, who represents Ward 3, said Albright's story is "a tough one to hear."

He said he understands her concerns and plans to talk to city staff "to come up with some kind of solution" as soon as possible.

"The state it's in now isn't acceptable."

Hickey said he's not certain it's the city's responsibility to fix it, given the private construction projects in the area, but contends ensuring safety and accessibility around construction sites is crucial, particularly around a seniors complex.

"It's really about finding the balance" between development and maintaining quality streets, sidewalks and crosswalks, he said.

Albright said she hopes the city will do something soon. She said she's not trying to make it a political issue, but notes it's tourist season and thousands of cruise ship passengers will be visiting, including people from the United States, where personal injury lawsuits are common.

She said she realizes a permanent fix may not be possible while construction work is going on, but she suggested even painting the uneven edges in "hot pink" to make people more aware could help.

"I guess the other part of my message would be to remind people, especially elderly people, to be especially careful because this is an old city, we had a lot of frost heaves this year, and so you never know what what's going to happen."

With files from Information Morning Saint John