The private sector will always, always, always be more efficient than government, and this latest story out of Toronto demonstrates that.  A Canadian man built some steps for his community park.  His cost?  Just $550.  He saved tax payers at least $65,000, and possibly more!

Adi Astl, of Toronto, is a retired mechanic who decided to build the stairs at Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ontario.  He took the initiative to do the job after several people fell down a pathway to the garden that was not adequately constructed.

City representatives claimed the cost to construct the stairs that Astl built for just $550, would have cost taxpayers anywhere from $65,000 to $150,000.

For that kind of money, Astl said, "I thought they were talking about an escalator."

Here's a picture of that pathway before Astl got involved.

“I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with,” said Gail Rutherford, Astl's wife, who believes her husbands contribution is already helping with safety in the park. “It’s a huge improvement over what was there.”

“To me, the safety of the people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”

Here's what Astl constructed with the help of a homeless man he hired.

The construction of the eight steps only took him and the other man a matter of hours, according to CTV News.

However, the city of Toronto did not praise the man for his generosity and saving his fellow citizens tens of thousands of dollars.  No, they claimed that Astl should have waited for the $65,000 project to take care of the stairs and are threatening to tear them down because they don't meet building regulation standards.

City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it. However, Astl has not been charged with any sort of violation.

Mayor John Tory acknowledged that the city estimate sounds “completely out of whack with reality” on Wednesday. However, he says that still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city bylaws to build public structures themselves.

“I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550,” he said on Wednesday. “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.”

He pointed out that the park already has an accessible path for those who worry about falling down the incline, which is essentially a shortcut from the parking lot to the garden area.

Tory also cited safety and accessibility issues in terms of the staircase’s design. City inspectors have said the stairs are unsafe because the railing is unsafe, the incline is uneven and there is no foundation.

The mayor says his staff have been asked to revisit the project and come up with a more realistic estimate, as the last one was based on projects in other parks.

Coun. Justin Di Ciano, who represents Astl’s area, said, "I think we all need to have a bit of common sense here."

Ciano also believes the stairs have made the area safer.

One resident, Dana Beamon, praised Astl's self-initiative and blasted growing government bureaucracy.

“We have far too much bureaucracy,” she said. “We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.”

The fact that it took attention being brought to bear on the matter for the mayor to say the estimate for the stairs was "wacky," the reality is that with more bureaucracy, the more the costs of such little projects become.  The city could have built the homeless man who helped Astl a home for that amount of money, even though it's not their job to do so.

Still, this little incident demonstrates how much better equipped and efficient the people are than government bureaucracy.  I say, well done Mr. Astl!

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