New Brunswick woman says sidewalk slip has left her traumatized

Click to play video: 'Icy sidewalk dispute in Saint John'
Icy sidewalk dispute in Saint John
WATCH: A Saint John woman is questioning the safety of the city’s streets after a nasty fall on an icy sidewalk. She says the city’s winter maintenance management puts people at risk, and she’s looking for answers from City Hall. Travis Fortnum reports – Mar 8, 2021

Sarah MacManus says a slip on a Saint John sidewalk left her with a broken ankle – and left her traumatized.

She was finishing up a grocery run when her foot slipped on the icy sidewalk outside her Peters Street apartment and she fell to the ground.

“I tried to get up but couldn’t,” she says. “So I just laid on my back, trying to get back to my apartment on my back.”

She says she blacked out from the pain.

“I was screaming and then there was a lady who helped me up into the apartment.”

A trip to the hospital determined her right ankle was broken in three places, requiring surgery.

MacManus says this is what the sidewalk outside her home looked like when she fell. Submitted by Sarah MacManus

“My daughter, she’s four,” MacManus says through tears.

Story continues below advertisement

“She just turned four and I had surgery on her birthday so I had to miss it.”

The entire ordeal has been difficult for MacManus, who just moved onto Peters Street days before the fall.

MacManus, who has Type 1 diabetes, says the experience of her hospital stay was as bad for her mental health as the slip was for her ankle.

“I don’t get much sleep,” she says.

“It hurts because of the stitches that are in there and I have nightmares about having to get my foot cut off because I’m a diabetic.”

She says she has nightmares of her children falling on city sidewalks.

MacManus says she called city hall “at least 10 times” throughout her hospital stay, begging them to clear the sidewalk for her return home.

She says they told her there was nothing they could do.

Peters Street is classified as a Priority 4 street in Saint John’s winter management plan.

The sidewalk on the north is cleared by the city, but not the south, where MacManus lives.

That was the case even before the plan was scaled back this year amid budget cuts.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Minimal tax base growth frustrates Saint John mayor

When reached by Global News Monday, city spokesperson Lisa Caissie said they caution residents to use “extra caution” due to the weather, especially this time of year.

“Frequent swings in weather and temperature can cause streets and sidewalks to become very icy in a short period of time,” Caissie writes in an email.

“This applies to areas that are serviced, and certainly those that are not.”

MacManus is not suing the city for her fall, though she says she is set to meet with a representative for insurance purposes.

She’s telling her story in hopes the current course of action might be altered – worrying how seniors or people with disabilities are managing.

“I don’t feel safe in this city. I don’t want to walk down the streets anymore. Not in the wintertime.”

Sponsored content