PEI

Steep, slippery path along Charlottetown street slammed as hazard to pedestrians

A newcomer to Charlottetown who injured her ankle while walking to Walmart to drop off a job application is the latest person to call for safety improvements on the very slippery slope next to Buchanan Drive.

'Not everybody can drive, and not everybody owns a vehicle,' says woman who hurt ankle

A month after arriving in Canada on a work visa, Yasmin Morgan-Johnson injured her ankle on a muddy path along Buchanan Drive in Charlottetown. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A newcomer to Charlottetown who injured her ankle while walking to Walmart to drop off a job application is the latest person to call for safety improvements on the very slippery slope next to Buchanan Drive.

Yasmin Morgan-Johnson is now laid up in her third-floor apartment for six to eight weeks, with her damaged ankle in a cast, after the incident on a private road on Nov. 21.

"Not everybody can drive, and not everybody owns a vehicle," she said in an interview with CBC News.

"I think the persons who are responsible for that area should really put in some safety measures there."

Morgan-Johnson was initially walking on Buchanan Drive itself until a passing driver rolled down the window and told her she wasn't allowed to be in the way of cars.

She stepped off the pavement onto the grassy, muddy path between Sleep Country and Walmart, and continued on her way.

The slope next to Buchanan Drive in Charlottetown. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Near the bottom of the hill, she tripped on some loose rocks and fell forward, got up, and then slipped, falling hard on her ankle.

Three people stopped to help her and someone called an ambulance.

"While I was on the ground, someone else ... fell on the same hill," she said.

Morgan-Johnson's husband is a long distance truck driver who came to Canada three years ago. She joined him in October from Jamaica, where she had been employed as a residential care worker. 

Now she is confined to her apartment, with crutches to help her get around, while her husband is away on a trucking job.

The red marker on this map shows the approximate place where Yasmin Morgan-Johnson badly injured her ankle while walking down a steep, muddy path along Buchanan Drive on her way to drop off a job application at Walmart. (Google Maps)

Morgan-Johnson's landlord Jon Zuccolo has been helping her as much as he can, picking her up from the hospital when she called him about her ankle, getting her some crutches and continuing to touch base with her.

"My husband had given me the landlord's number in case of emergency, so he came for me," Morgan-Johnson said.  

Zuccolo was the person who reached out to CBC News after his tenant's injury. Before that, he contacted the City of Charlottetown and was told it was "private property, nothing to do with the city." 

The property is owned by SmartCentres, and Zuccolo said he reached out to the company's property manager.

Zuccolo said SmartCentres told him they are aware that there's a path alongside the road, that it's not an official path and that it's essentially too expensive to build an official pathway there. 

It's pretty unreasonable to think that perhaps the taxpayers should be responsible for mending broken bones instead of having the corporation just put in a proper pathway.- Jon Zuccolo

He said the representative told him the company might put up signs saying people shouldn't use the path.

"I suppose the alternative is to walk on the road, [or] buy a car and drive everywhere?" 

He noted that there are a lot of apartment buildings in the area and many people have no option but to walk to the very busy retail zone that includes Walmart. 

"I think it's pretty unreasonable to think that perhaps the taxpayers should be responsible for mending broken bones instead of having the corporation just put in a proper pathway."

The owner of the property, SmartCentres Real Estate, did not respond to a request for comment from CBC News.

Jon Zuccolo, who is Yasmin Morgan-Johnson's landlord, called the city and the company that owns the land where she fell in an effort to help make the path safer. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Since Buchanan Drive is a private road, the corporation that owns it has a legal responsibility to make sure it's safe, said Filip Hrga, a lawyer Morgan-Johnson has consulted.

"I suspect that this is a frequent occurrence, and so for me, it's a bit mind-boggling actually, that nothing's been done, that there's no proper walkway in place, that there's no steps or path or railing or anything like that," said Hrga. 

"I think there needs to be something better than just, you know, mud and a Hail Mary hope that you make it down the hill okay."

Lawyer Filip Hrga says the unofficial path alongside Buchanan Drive is on private property, so its owner has a responsibility to make sure it's safe. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

With files from Brian Higgins

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now