Free Minds & Free Markets

Brickbat: Better Offer

Stairsscreenshot / Toronto StarAdi Astl just wanted some stairs on a steep hill in Toronto's Tom Riley Park. City officials told him it would cost $65,000 to $150,000 to build stairs there. So he went in and built his own for $550. Officials then declared those stairs a hazard and tore them down. They now promise to build a set of stairs there, and they say it will only cost $10,000.

Photo Credit: screenshot / Toronto Star video

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If I was the city I would have bulldozed the entire park for that, salted the earth and sent him the bill.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Declared a hazard"... Pfft.

    The only "hazard" is in protecting people from ever falling- thus making their bones that much weaker and likelier to break, and their skin that much more delicate and likelier to bruise, when inevitably they fall down the one hundred and fifty thousand god damn dollar staircase anyway. Just like a kid who's kept away from other kids and their rhinoviruses, so that when he grows up he has no built-up immunity and gets sick all the time.

    Not to mention the "hazard" some middle-aged lady with a tumor in her left mammary gland is gonna find herself in when the nice public-sector doctor informs her that she has to wait another month for her cancer screening because *someone* used the 150k$ that was supposed to fix the Boob-Ogler 5000 to build a FUCKING STAIRCASE.

  • Jerryskids||

    Look, you can't just let the public do whatever they want to public property, there's a slippery slope in letting some random guy fix a slippery slope. Next thing you know, he'll be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and healing the sick and then what will pencil pushers and paper shufflers do for a paycheck?

  • Longtobefree||

    The paper shuffler will write lots of citations for illegally feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and healing the sick, and then fill out more paperwork to justify a bigger budget because of the great increase in his workload.

  • creech||

    Yeah, and then declare what great Christians (or other religion) they are and how compassionate and charitable the government entity is.

  • Longtobefree||

    Let's see. Our good citizen spent $550.00 and brought down the cost of a staircase from the range of $65,000 to $150,000 to the fixed price of 'only' $10,000. Will he get a percentage of the savings as a reward? Will he even get reimbursed for his work on a 'hammer ready project'?
    Or is he now on the excremental roster of every bureaucrat in the town?

  • frankania||

    I wonder whatever happened to "public bids" on projects like these...I have bid on govt projects in PA, MS, LA, and in Mexico for electrical projects, and the bids appear in the newspaper next day--the lowest one usually awarded. So, the taxpayers can SEE how their $$ is spent. Even though the bidders usually add a few $$ since they know the project will be slow and full of "inspectors" etc., it is a pretty fair system.

    By the way, the first house I built costs $550 using used lumber in 1964. The latest house (number 30) costs about .$50,000--a large 5 bedroom mansion in a protected neighborhood. Construction is FUN!

  • Longtobefree||

    Please provide one more detail; how much of the $50,000 was related to the 'protection' of the neighborhood?
    (I assume this is like an HOA, not like the mob)

  • frankania||

    The house is in a gated community of 29 houses in central Mexico, where a voluntary membership pays dues of about $1 per day for 24-hour gate guard, and litter control, etc. The 50 thousand was Just for materials and labor. (5 years ago)

  • SQRLSY One||

    What would you charge for a stairway... Say...

    A Stairway to Heaven! (I want to be buying a Stairway to Heaven).

    (Please quote it two ways; Once "Plain Vanilla", and once with an added safety shield around it, in case, high up in the air, a VERY heavy Zeppelin-type Airship might bump into it).

  • Robert||

    I wonder whatever happened to "public bids" on projects like these...I have bid on govt projects in PA, MS, LA, and in Mexico for electrical projects, and the bids appear in the newspaper next day--the lowest one usually awarded.

    For projects as small as this one, if it worked like that, great. However, usually by the time they pay people to develop the specs for such a bid, then evaluate the bids, that winds up costing more than a small project like this would cost if they just phoned the 1st contractor at random & accepted that price.

  • BearOdinson||

    "How much to build a set of stairs?"
    "About $550"
    "How about if it is for the city?"
    "About $50,000"

    There, 1st contractor called at random!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the city's defense, that's a pretty sorry looking set of stairs. Especially for $550 (although maybe not for Toronto).

  • geo1113||

    Agreed, fist. However it did rattle some cages and got that build price way down.

  • Robert||

    The homemade stairs did look dangerous, arguably more dangerous than the existing terrain. But are the ones that cost the city X times as much X times safer?

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Can't answer that question without knowing if you are using the Newtonian or Einsteinian formula for calculating safeness.

  • Finrod||

    And people wonder why government costs so fucking much.

  • BearOdinson||

    Besides, that $50,000 Canadian. What is that like $45 in real money?

  • Ron||

    those stairs are very inadequate and will break but then I'm smart enough to not use them. still $65k is robbery

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