Toronto demands man tear down $550 stairway he built for elderly and disabled, so City can built a similar stairway for $65,000

The stairs which Adi Astl built with $550 of his own money to enable elderly and disabled individuals to access a community garden. The City of Toronto objects to Astl’s unilateral action and demands that he tear it down, so the City can construct a $65,000 stairwell quite similar to the one Astl already built. Numerous elderly and disabled citizens used the stairwell before the City blocked it.

NICK WESTOLL and CARYN LIEBERMAN, GLOBAL NEWS

The City of Toronto has asked an Etobicoke senior who built stairs to a community park for a fraction of an estimate provided by municipal officials to remove the new access point.

Adi Astl said he contacted his councillor, Justin Di Ciano, to ask for another set of stairs at Tom Riley Park in order to safely access the community garden. He said he was shocked when he was told the estimate to build the stairs was $65,000-150,000.

“I thought maybe they put escalators in here,” he joked.

Astl, a former mechanic, then took action and constructed a wooden set of stairs – for a total cost of $550. Before the new access, he said there was nothing but an embankment with rocks and a yellow rope.

“It took us all together 14 hours. It took us eight hours before they got in and then we had to modify it, and the railings and all that stuff,” Astl said.

He said he has been asked by City staff to remove the stairs and tape was placed across the top. Astl could potentially be charged under a city bylaw.

“We don’t need a great big, huge cement staircase. We just need this,” Gail Rutherford, Astl’s wife, said.

“It’s much safer than what was there before.”

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