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Senior's steps in Etobicoke park removed

Toronto Sun

Adi Astl poses for a photo at the top of the staircase he built leading down to Tom Riley Park, near Islington Ave. and Bloor St. W., in Toronto, Ont. on Tuesday July 18, 2017. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun

Adi Astl poses for a photo at the top of the staircase he built leading down to Tom Riley Park, near Islington Ave. and Bloor St. W., in Toronto, Ont. on Tuesday July 18, 2017. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun

TORONTO - 

The city has torn out the stairs a resident built in an Etobicoke park.

Adi Astl, 73, used contributions from the community garden members and some of his own money to build eight wood steps in 12 hours for $550 at Tom Riley Park.

The city's Parks, Forestry and Recreation department had said it would cost anywhere from $65,000 to $150,000 to install a staircase of eight steps.

Local Councillor Justin DiCiano's office was informed that Astl better remove the “illegally built stairs” by this past Monday or he’d be charged under the City of Toronto Municipal Code Section 608 (which covers rules for parks), Sue-Ann Levy has reported.

On Friday morning, city workers removed the steps.

However, Mayor John Tory says they will be rebuilt.

"The original cost estimate for the City of Toronto to build stairs in Tom Riley Park was absolutely ridiculous and out of whack with reality," Tory said in a statement on Friday.

"I want to thank Mr. Astl for taking a stand on this issue. His homemade steps have sent a message that I know city staff have heard loud and clear. The city always needs to be looking for simple, cost-effective solutions to problems no matter how big or small they are.

"Work on the new steps starts today and will be done in a matter of days.

"Anything the City builds has to be absolutely safe and has to be able to stand the test of time – these new stairs will do just that. The new stairs will be safe, durable and reasonably priced.

"I'm not happy that these kinds of outrageous project cost estimates are even possible. I'll be working to identify what changes we can put in place to make sure this doesn't continue to happen."