A man in Toronto has beaten the city’s plans to construct a set of park stairs and built them himself in just a few hours for just a fraction of the price. Reports have stated that the retired mechanic, Adi Astl, did not regret building the stairs for the community park, despite the park firming stating that he should have waited for the city project, which would have cost $65,000, to handle it.
Astl spent a total of just $550 on building his stairs with the help of a homeless man, which the city is now threatening to tear down due to the fact that they were not built to the regulation standards. Reports have said that the stairs were needed due to a number of accidents that occurred on the prior steep slow leading into the community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont, including a member of the garden group who broke her wrist after falling down the slope just last year.
Astl’s neighbours chipped in to cover the $550 building of the eight steps, and after he heard that the city had previously estimated the job to cost between $65,000 and $150,000 he told CTV News Channel, “I thought they were talking about an escalator.”
Astl’s wife, Gail Rutherford, said, “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with. It’s a huge improvement over what was there.” Astl has since been thanked by members of his gardening group, and stated, “To me, the safety of people is more important than money. So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”
The stairs have since been taped off by city bylaw officers whilst a decision is made about what should be done next. Whilst Mayor John Tory has acknowledged that the city’s estimate sounds “completely out of whack with reality” on Wednesday, he also added that it doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to build public structures themselves whilst bypassing city bylaws.
He stated, “I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550. We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have.”
City inspectors have also stated that the stairs are not currently safe due to the railing, together with the incline which is uneven and the fact that there is no foundation. The mayor’s staff will therefore revisit the project and estimate a more realistic cost for building stairs that are safe for use.
Area resident Dana Beamon told CTV Toronto that she’s happy to have the stairs in place, even if they are not they are up to city standards, stating, “We have far too much bureaucracy. We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.”
IMAGES CREDIT: CTV News
I am Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer and writer. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to see what I am doing right now.