City of Toronto to tear down $550 park stairs, says man who built them

The maverick Toronto handyman who erected a $550 set of stairs in a community park says the city is going to tear them down and build a more expensive replacement that meets its construction standards.

Retired mechanic Adi Astl said he took it upon himself to install the steps after several neighbours fell down the steep muddy slope that served as a shortcut to a community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont.

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    They should throw that scofflaw in jail until he can prove that he complied with the provenance’s diversity practices during the construction of that stairway.

    • Liberal Progressive

      I hope that scab has CUPE picketing outside of his home until he apologizes to the union in writing.

      How many good union jobs could have been provided for that reasonable $65,000-$150,000 the city estimated should have gone towards that work?

    • David

      Enough with this soft on crime attitude.I say give him a free trial and then hang him! On a union made scaffold of course.

  • Manual Paleologos

    The homemade stairs are inadequate, to the point of being dangerous. They have no foundation. The stringers rest directly on dirt. The contraption will soon start to wobble. If the stringers aren’t pressure treated, they will rot, increasing the instability. The handrail is not to code, and may be dangerous. There is only a handrail on one side. There is no cutout in the road guardrail at the head of the stairs. I can’t tell what kind of traffic hazard would exist outside the guardrail. This is an accident and a fat lawsuit waiting for a time to happen.

    The “overly expensive” city stairs will be concrete, with proper handrails. It will also probably have a handicapped ramp. It will have a proper cutout in the guardrail.

    $65K sounds about right for that. Maybe he shamed the city into installing proper stairs, but his aren’t proper.

    • shasta

      65000 times 2% is 1300 so you can replace the steps every year and put 650 bucks back into the fund.

      • Manual Paleologos

        And what is it going to cost the city when some mope, perhaps deliberately, falls down the rickety wood stairs?

        • shasta

          Perhaps people should take responsibility for their own safety or else stay in their cocoon?

          • Manual Paleologos

            And the City is obliged to provide facilities that do not endanger them. One automatically assumes streets and street furniture to be relatively safe. If the stairs pitch you on your head because they are inherently dangerous, how is that your fault?

          • shasta

            It is your fault because you have falsely assumed that someone else is going to take care of you, and that you have no responsibility to take care of yourself. No one is forcing you to go down unstable stairs, walk around them if you want. Your argument is the same one that some people give for walking into oncoming traffic because the light said they could.

          • Manual Paleologos

            No. The average citizen does not have the ability to judge the structural stability of the stairs. A person has a right to assume that facilities made available for public use is safe. Your argument is essentially that I can build a ticky tacky firetrap of a hotel, and when it burns down the occupants are SOL because they checked in of their own free will.

          • shasta

            “A person has a right to assume that facilities made available for public use is safe”

            I’m sure they will appreciate you repeating that mantra at their funerals.

          • Manual Paleologos

            They do have recourse against the city. If the city allows ticky-tacky back alley carpenters to build unsafe stairs, they are asking for it.

    • Clink9

      Maybe throw an elevator in there while your at it.

      • Manual Paleologos

        Sure. Got another quarter mil? Those things ain’t cheap.

        • Clink9

          John Tory has gobs of money. Just not his.

    • cornhusk

      No, $65,000 doesn’t sound about right, considering the mayor said the city would install a new one for $10,000. Hmm, curiously the cost has gone down by $55,000. Imagine that!

      This is just a case of pigs with their snouts in the trough, looking to rip off the public.

      • Manual Paleologos

        They probably dropped the handicapped ramp, and will be just building a set of concrete stairs.

  • marty_p

    Update – City staffers tore down the staircase early this morning. Mayor called the guy who built the stairs and assured him a replacement that met the city specs. Newstalk 1010 (aka CFRB) reimburses the guy who built the stairs with a cheque for $1010.

    • andycanuck

      It was a scam to make about a $500 profit then!

  • Hard Little Machine

    Cities do this all the time. Outside my development we’ve been yelling at the city for decade to install a traffic light. Well they finally did – sort of. 4 poles, all the wires, 11 lights, big computerized switchbox………lights are set to flash red in one direction yellow in another

    They spent several million dollars recreating a stop sign and a yield sign. Add to that $5-10,000 in annual maintenance and utility costs.

  • andycanuck

    Tear it down as it looks pretty half-assed (as has already been done) but I doubt a replacement would cost the $65Gs estimated even using proper concrete basing etc. as suggested, above.

  • BillyHW

    Quick, somebody paint it in rainbow colours!

    • David

      That would have solved the problem.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      No kidding, that would have made the stairs unassailable.

  • LauraS

    There was absolutely no need for the stairs in the first place–they were erected at a “shortcut” to the community gardens. These people were simply too lazy to walk through the entrance. So the intrepid carpenter solved a problem that didn’t really exist. Waste of money all around.

    Having said that, he irked the foolish Toronto Mayor by making it clear that Tory’s so-called conservative credentials are nonexistent and he isn’t able to rein in the “gravy train” at City Hall…so that gets points from me.