City officials in Toronto are upset over the fact that a resident took it upon himself to fix a problem the government was slow to deal with — and he did it for a fraction of the cost. From Canada’s CTV News:
“A Toronto man who spent $550 building a set of stairs in his community park says he has no regrets, despite the city’s insistence that he should have waited for a $65,000 city project to handle the problem. The city is now threatening to tear down the stairs because they were not built to regulation standards.”
Adi Astl, a retired mechanic, says he was tired of watching his neighbors take spills down the steep path that leads to the community garden, so he bought the materials and set out to do it himself. With the help of a homeless man he hired, Astl completed the job in a matter of hours.
Astl told CTV News that when he heard of the city government’s $65,000 estimate for the stairs job, he “thought they were talking about an escalator.”
His wife Gail says the stairs have already helped a lot of park visitors and are a “huge improvement over what was there.”
Toronto mayor John Tory admits the city’s estimate seems “completely out of whack with reality” but that it still doesn’t justify what Astl did. “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,” he told CTV News.
Tory further claims the stairs are unsafe and says city inspectors have issues with the structure’s design. Despite that, Astl’s stairs are staying for now. This is because the man who represents Astl’s area in Toronto’s government, Justin di Ciano, thinks “the spot seems safer with stairs than without them,” according to CTV News.
“I think we all need to have a bit of common sense here,” he said.
Local resident Dana Beamon says she couldn’t care less about whether or not the stairs are up to the government’s standards and that she appreciates Adi Astl’s impulse to take action:
“We have far too much bureaucracy. We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.”