Good Deeds | Uplifting

Retiree Builds A Staircase For His Community, But The City Wants To Tear It Down

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Ernest Droszuk / Toronto Sun

Adi Astl had been watching people struggle and fall trying to climb down from the parking lot of his local park for 8 years. The retired mechanic is a bit of a handyman himself, and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Before the stairs were built, visitors had to cling to this rope to get down the hill.Greg Ross / CBC

The 73-year-old, along with his wife and neighbors, regularly used the community garden in Toronto's Tom Riley Park. But the quickest way into the park involved holding onto a rope and walking over slippery rocks and dirt.

Astl and his wife Gail Rutherford.Greg Ross / CBC

Astl asked the city about building a staircase, but the city told him the project would take time, and cost anywhere from $65,000 to $150,000. “I thought they were talking about an escalator,” Astl said about first hearing these prices.

“To me, the safety of people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.” In just one day, with the help of a homeless man he hired, Astle built a wooden 8-step staircase leading into the park.

The cost, which his neighbors chipped in to cover, was only $550. But the city didn't appreciate Astl's project, and they told him to tear it down.

Find out why the city says these stairs have to go on the next page!

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