The Yellow Tape of Disapproval

In Canada, an object lesson in how to do things better has been taped off as 'unsafe' and will likely be demolished.
A Toronto man who spent $550 building a set of stairs in his community park says he has no regrets, despite the city’s insistence that he should have waited for a $65,000 city project to handle the problem. The city is now threatening to tear down the stairs because they were not built to regulation standards.

Retired mechanic Adi Astl says he took it upon himself to build the stairs after several neighbours fell down the steep path to a community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont. Astl says his neighbours chipped in on the project, which only ended up costing $550 – a far cry from the $65,000-$150,000 price tag the city had estimated for the job....

Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours.
"Regulation standards" apparently means "we need to get paid bigtime."

Give a homeless guy a job, do the job at 1.3% of the minimum estimated cost, and all it gets you is your stairs torn down at taxpayer expense so they can build the expensive stairs they wanted. I guess he's lucky he's not being thrown in jail for interfering with an exercise of government power.


E Hines said...

"Just because you want something doesn't mean you can just go down to the hardware store and build it."

Apparently Canada isn't a free country anymore.

There is a public liability involved, but that's what warning signs are for. And there's an accessible path just 200 feet away? For a person who needs such a path, those 200 feet aren't trivial.

I have to ask, too, regarding even that low-ball bid of 65 stacks: how much of that is to cover the costs of compliance with Toronto's, the province's, and the nation's regulations? How much of that is for the increment of union labor over non-union labor (homeless persons, say)?

Eric Hines

douglas said...

Ah, nice try though. The rail attached to the cantilevered end of the treads is a little, um, sketchy.

IF you want to do something like this, there are a couple of tricks. First, see if the administrator of the facility is willing to turn a blind eye to the object being built. Second, do it well enough that there's not a great likelihood that someone is going to get injured on it and sue. Third, get some degree of community support so it's less likely that any of the community users will report it.

That's basically how we got things done at my kids public elementary school when they were there, and we built several things including a full patio cover. Some stairs that had been put in by previous parents though, was a little sketchy and eventually caught the eye of the district and had to be removed.

I think in this case, it was more likely that they knew this wouldn't fly, but it got publicity and will likely end up getting them the very expensive stairs they wanted, at least.

65G minimum? Even Canadian Dollars, that's ridiculous, but government contracts are just a source of fat to feed the pigs, with a lot of backscratching going on to the politicians. Other People's Money- a temptation to good to pass up. That's why wise men wish to limit the power of government.

Ymar Sakar said...

The System is rigged. It is just as I said it was. Not even the Prometheus society can argue that one any more.

tyreea said...

If your local Library does not have a copy of "Architectural Graphic Standards" on the shelf, as them to get one.

douglas said...

You know, you can find an awful lot on code compliant details on-line, I think you could get by without Graphic Standards, but I'll go along with you and recommend it. It was the first thing I bought for my professional library (other than some design and history books bought while in school).