‘Grit Coleraine’s car parks’: local woman’s plea after fall

The Mall car park in Coleraine. INCR11

The Mall car park in Coleraine. INCR11

A Macosquin woman is calling for the regular gritting of Coleraine’s car parks after she fell on black ice on an ungritted surface.

Christine Elkin banged her head and back on the ground and was left with bruising after the incident, which occurred in the Mall Car Park at lunchtime on Monday November 21.

The car park is used by hundreds of people each week, including the elderly and disabled, who favour the short distance into the town centre.

Christine told the Times that she was heading for the pay and display machine when she lost her footing amid the slippery conditions.

“The temperature was about two degrees and as I went to get my ticket I fell on my back, banging my back and elbow and hitting my head,” she recalled.

“I was helped up by a couple who were coming behind me.

“I was left with bruising but if it had been an elderly fragile person they could have had broken bones.

“It’s a health and safety issue; it’s bad enough trying to get a space without having problems walking there as well.”

Christine said that after she phoned the council she was telephoned by a council employee who informed her that the surface had not been gritted due to a “breakdown in communication” with the Roads Service.

“They want to boost trade over Christmas but it’s not a great incentive to get people out shopping if they can’t walk safely in the car parks,” she continued.

“I would like all the car parks to be gritted first thing in the morning before shoppers and workers arrive.”

The Mall Car Park is owned and managed by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, who increased the price of parking there from 40p to 50p per hour in August.

A council spokesperson said: “The Council and Transport NI have an arrangement in place to grit those car parks previously managed by Transport NI. “We are investigating the reasons behind why the car park was not gritting earlier on Monday morning.”

The spokeswoman said that the car park would be “gritted on the secondary schedule of routes completed by Transport NI.”