Man builds stairs for park after city council receives $65,000 estimate

Why spend $65,000 when you can spend $550?

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Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Adi Astl, a retired mechanic living in Etobicoke, Ontario, heard that the city planned to spend $65,000 for a set of park stairs. So, he decided to take on the project himself.

If you’ve ever had to wait for the city to complete a project in your neighborhood, you know just how frustrating the process can be.  Someone offers a lengthy proposal that needs approval. Then budgets get sorted out and vendors get calls. Years can pass. A lot of cash gets spent. And many, many people have weighed in with their exasperation. Throughout the process, it can be tempting to just take matters into your own hands—and that’s exactly what one 73-year-old Astl did.

Stairs built in hours, not years

“I thought, ‘This was ridiculous,’” Astl told TODAY recently. “You could build an escalator for that much.”

So he got to work and built the steps in just a few hours. He paid a homeless man at the park to help him out. Eight steps and a mere $550 later, the project was complete. Take a look at the stairs constructed:

It was a professional-looking job done for a fraction of the cost. But unfortunately, the stairs won’t be staying.

The city cited safety and bylaw concerns as its reason for replacing them. Luckily the city did not charge Astl with any violations. Mayor John Tory said the new, city-approved stairs project shout start soon.

“I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550,” Tory told CTV last week. “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.”

However, maybe Astl’s push gave the city the encouragement needed in order to find a cheaper, quicker stair solution. Hopefully, the new park stairs get done soon!

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