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by Josh Guckert

Tired of Government Ineptitude, Man Takes Initiative on Stairs

But without government, who would build the park stairs? One man has the answer for that question, and his city isn’t happy.

In Toronto, retired Mechanic Adi Astl took matters into his own hands after several of his neighbors fell down a path to a nearby community garden. Astl and his neighbors pooled their money together to construct steps for $550, far less than the $65,000 to $100,000 the city estimated it would take for construction.

Astl built the steps in hours, enlisting the help of a homeless person. The city now threatens to perhaps tear down the project because it does not abide by regulation standards. City bylaw officers taped off the stairs until further notice.

That notwithstanding, Astl’s neighbors seem pleased with the project. “We have far too much bureaucracy,” said Dana Beamon, an area resident. “We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.” Astl’s wife, Gail Rutherford, stated “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with . . . It’s a huge improvement over what was there.”

Astl’s project proves the superiority of private enterprise over government bureaucracy. He and his associates completed the project in a responsive and timely manner at a fraction of the cost.


About The Author

Josh Guckert
Associate Editor

Josh Guckert is a 25-year-old lawyer and has been a contributor to The Libertarian Republic since January 2015. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his BA in Political Science with a History Minor in 2013 before earning his JD in 2016. During his time in law school, he served as the Editor in Chief of the Pittsburgh Tax Review and Editorial Coordinator for the JURIST legal news service. He was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. He is a 2013 graduate of Cato University, hosted by the Cato Institute. His largest areas of interest within the liberty movement include the protection of civil liberties and economic freedom. He is the former President of the Pitt chapter of Students for Rand and a former President of the Pitt Law chapter of the Federalist Society.

  • picnicfun

    Hurts my head to see this city’s opposition.

  • frankania

    Instead of paying TAXES, all govts should allow people to WORK for the betterment of their areas, and credit them their labor time instead of paying $$$

    • Joseph Slabaugh

      It should be local governance, not government. Government is to control the people, local governance is just making sure the infrastructure is in place to get from point a to point b.

  • TomRay

    Some “Pet” city contractor and the commissioner he is in cahoots with are pissed off in losing ALL that money.

  • kinghumble

    Except… These stairs will fall apart after one or two winters. Except that the handrail is unstable and isn’t secured to the ground. There’s no concrete foundation, only mud along the slope and gravel at the bottom. Even before winter, a bad rainstorm might scuttle the whole thing.

    This is a charming story – and hey, for all I know, the city’s price-tag is still way too expensive. But this is no Libertarian victory. It’s a garbage staircase.

    • ClevelandBill

      KingHumble … what part of what municipal government do you work for? We can’t really see how the thing is built … I am not fond of the too-close stair stringers, but there are advantages to this design (namely, in the stiffness of the entire stairway, and resistance to stair tread flexion or twisting). Builder may have put a pipe down into the ground inside those handrail supports. I’m guessing with a cost of $550, there’s a lot more to those stairs than the picture reveals.

      • Tracy A. Goode

        Yeah, that could be–but they aren’t handicap accessible; there is no ramp for wheelchair access, they’re narrow, blah blah blah. When my sister’s old law firm rented an old house for their offices, they had to go through a lot of hoops to make it meet ADA standards; it cost them a pretty penny for the ramp from the parking lot to the door for wheelchair access–and the builder had to build it twice because he thought he could just build a short ramp. Had they allowed someone to use that first one, at the angle it was at, there would have been a lawsuit when the wheelchair got away from the person pushing it and the occupant was hurt from being unable to stop at the bottom. It was a freaking 45 degree angle.

        • Mike

          I think, perhaps, the fact that there are “a lot of hoops” might be exactly what this story is about.

      • kinghumble

        Oh, gosh, if only I lived in Toronto and had seen these stairs with my own eyes.. Oh, wait, I do, and I have.

    • IceTrey

      “after several of his neighbors fell down a path to a nearby community garden.”
      “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with . . . It’s a huge improvement over what was there”.

      So which do you prefer? Old people falling down a rocky path or these stairs?

  • viccotrip

    I looks as though a hand rail for people to hold on to while they descended the hill would have prevented falls.

    • olde reb

      like the one at half-dome ?