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City estimates staircase cost at $65K. One frustrated taxpayer has a better idea.
Toronto resident Adi Astl built a staircase in a park for just $550 after the city estimated it would cost $65,000 to build. (Image source: CTV screenshot)

City estimates staircase cost at $65K. One frustrated taxpayer has a better idea.

A Canadian city estimated a stairway in a park would cost taxpayers up to $65,000, but one resident proved them very wrong.

Adi Astl, a retired mechanic and Toronto resident, grew increasingly frustrated with waiting for city leaders to actually build the staircase in Tom Riley Park, and decided to build a staircase on his own — for a whole lot less.

Astl built the staircase for just $550, paid for in part by private donations, and hired a homeless man to help while he was at it, according to CTV.

City residents use the walkway as a shortcut between the parking lot and a garden. The city previously said it would build the staircase after a number of residents reported falling down along their way. But Astl apparently got tired of waiting on all of the government bureaucracy.

“To me, the safety of people is more important than money," Astl told CTV. "So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”

Gail Rutherford, Astl's wife, said the staircase is a "huge improvement."

"I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with,” Rutherford said.

Toronto City Councillor Justin Di Ciano acknowledged that the original estimated cost of $65,000 was “completely out of whack with reality."

Nevertheless, the city plans to tear down Astl's staircase since it did not meet the city's regulation standards.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said it will cost more than $550 to build a new staircase that does meet the city's standards. But according to one professional carpenter who spoke with CTV, all it needs is a "few tweaks" to meet regulation standards.

Astl's remedy for the stairs not meeting the city's standards was to post a sign, which read, "Use at your own risk."

The stairs were blocked off by tape until city leaders decide exactly what to do next.

“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," Tory told CTV.

One city resident, though, pointed to the incident as just one example of "too much bureaucracy."

“We have far too much bureaucracy,” Dana Beamo said. “We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed."

Di Ciano urged his fellow city leaders to leave the staircase that Astl built until the city comes up with plans to build a new one.

“I think we all need to have a bit of common sense here,” Di Ciano told CTV.

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