Heathcote: new staircase closed amid claims it is unsafe


Locals Paul and Kathy Rossiter at the stairs.
Pictures: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d467630
Heathcote: new staircase closed amid claims it is unsafe
Locals Paul and Kathy Rossiter at the stairs. Pictures: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d467630

A STAIRCASE at Heathcote has been closed three weeks after opening after claims by residents it is unsafe.

Applecross resident Kathy Rossiter had emailed feedback to the City after she tripped when the heel of her shoe caught on a step.

She was initially assured on the phone that the stairs complied with relevant building codes but she maintained the stairs were unsafe.

The staircase connects the top of the hill at Heathcote with the boardwalk around the point.

“Most of our friends are walking down sideways,” she said.

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Husband Paul Rossiter called the Melville Times after he also tripped on the stairs about a week after his wife stumbled, which prompted him to measure the steps.

Mr Rossiter, a retiree, is formerly a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers and former deputy vice-Chancellor of Research at Curtin University.

He said public stairs should have a height between steps of 115mm to 190mm and a tread width of 250mm to 355mm.

Mr Rossiter measured the height between stairs at 200mm to 225mm, and the tread width 235mm to 240mm.

The Melville Times sent questions to the City of Melville on Monday, April 3, and Mr Rossiter said a friend noticed council workers at the stairs last Tuesday. When the Melville Times visited on Wednesday, the stairs were cordoned off.

“Following recent public inquiries, the City is undertaking an investigation,” Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said.

“Legislation requires the City to seek third party certification prior to issuing a building permit.

“The investigation will determine if the Building Code of Australia requirements do in fact apply to this construction.

“As a matter of caution, the stairs have been closed off from the public until the investigation is completed.”

Dr Silcox said the stairs opened on March 14 to replace dilapidated wooden stairs.

The project cost about $330,000 including design.

The staircase features an aluminium frame with reinforced fibre plastic tread inserts.