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

The staircase was a hit with everyone who uses the park, including the gardening club, soccer teams and mothers who have an easier way to get their strollers down from the parking lot.

City officials taped off the stairs and put warning signs around it.CTV

But the city told Astl the steps would have to come down, and even told him he might be charged for building "illegal stairs" under the city's bylaws. The city's parks department put caution tape and warning signs around the steps, and seemed to actually prefer that people go back to sliding down the steep hill instead of walking down the staircase.

Astl and his wife use the stairs.Greg Ross / CBC

As one spokesman for the park department said: "Climbing up and down a hill on their own” is different from stairs “that invites people to climb it. The expectation of safety is different between a hill and a staircase." Finally, after public backlash, the city is willing to work with Astl to find a solution.

Mayor John Tory admits that the huge estimate was “completely out of whack with reality," but insists that "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.”

The city complains that the stairs are uneven, not accessible, that the railing is unsafe, the incline is uneven, there are screws sticking out and the stairs have no foundation. But locals seem to like the staircase just fine, and they're happy to use it.

Share this story if you think the staircase should stay up!

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