‘It’s amazing,’ retired man says of city’s replacement stairs at Etobicoke park
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:53PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 26, 2017 7:41PM EDT
A retired mechanic says the new set of stairs built by city crews to replace his homemade steps at an Etobicoke park is “beautiful.”
On June 22, 73-year-old Adi Astl built an eight-step wooden staircase with the help of a homeless man for $550 at Tom Riley Park after the city said the project was out of budget at a cost of $150,000.
He built the stairs to help children and the elderly make their way down a steep embankment leading to a community garden. The stairs were later removed by city crews on July 21.
Astl was told his set of stairs violated section 608 of the Toronto Municipal Code, but before the process of removing them began, Mayor John Tory thanked Astl for “taking a stand,” promising the elderly man that a new set of stairs would be built within “a matter of days.” The mayor also denounced the city’s first estimate on the cost of the stairs.
Tory’s promise to Astl did not fall short.
The new set that was installed on Wednesday will cost the city no more than $10,000, officials said.
In a written statement released Friday regarding the stairs, Tory said Astl helped the city find a more cost effective way to execute the project.
“The city always needs to be looking for simple, cost-effective solutions to problems, no matter how big or small they are.”
Speaking with CTV News Toronto on Wednesday, Astl said he is “pleased” with the whole process that has gathered a widespread amount of attention.
“The whole world is talking about these steps in our park here,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
Astl said the city crews started the work on Tuesday and should be finished by Thursday depending on the weather.
“Yesterday they started to level the scene and take out what they need to and if you have a look now the stairs are there,” he said. “They have to finish the top of it and the bottom of it – the bottom of it had to be concrete and they are planning (to do) this tomorrow. However, if it’s raining they can’t do that part of it.”
The councillor for the area Justin Di Ciano told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday that the installation was necessary for the area.
“It’s going to be good for the community, good for the park, in-and-out access – it’s great,” he said.
Di Ciano said residents were using a rope to descend down a hill prior to the stairs being built.
“Human behaviour is just that they’re going to take shortcuts and you can see shortcut lines in all park across the city,” Di Ciano said. “This one here – being that there are so many seniors using this part of the park with this community garden – we’ve seen (shortcuts be used) over and over and over for many years.”
After the process of building the steps is complete, Astl and Di Ciano say they hope to have a ribbon cutting ceremony with the community and Tory to celebrate the hard work they’ve accomplished.