An amusing bureaucratic debate has arisen in Canada after a retired mechanic took it upon himself to build a $550 staircase on a dangerous local park trail – which is a substantially lower price tag than the city’s original estimate.

When several community members of Etobicoke, Ontario had fallen down or gotten injured on the rocky Tom Riley Park path, local citizens contacted the city for a price estimate on a staircase.

Much to their dismay, the city said that eight steps would cost taxpayers anywhere from $65,000 to $150,000.

So, Adi Astl stepped up to build the installation himself.

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With several other neighbors offering to help finance the stairs, Astl hired a homeless man to assist with the project. Within a matter of hours, they had built eight steps for roughly $550.

Though the initiative caused some controversy amongst city representatives saying that “there is no foundation” and the “incline is uneven”, community members have already thanked Astl for his work, saying that it has made the path substantially less dangerous.

Astl, who is in his seventies, say that it was never about the money – it was about keeping people safe.

Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory says that while the original estimate for the staircase was definitely uncalled for, he emphasizes that citizens can’t simply modify public spaces simply because they don’t like the way things are. Additionally, the park already has a more accessible path further past the new staircase – visitors simply used the rocky trail as a shortcut at their own risk.

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However, city council members are now saying that instead of tearing down the staircase to build a new one, workers will most likely improve upon Astl’s installation for significantly less money than the original project.

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