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What’s with all the red tape?


Bureaucracy is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary a couple of ways: 1. government characterized by specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, and a hierarchy of authority: and 2. a system of administration marked by officialism, red tape, and proliferation.
Either way you interpret it, bureaucracy is something that can’t be avoided and seems to increase exponentially with every year that passes. While sometimes necessary, there are far too many cases like the one that seems to be blowing up the Toronto news.
Etobicoke senior Adi Astle has been trying for eight years to get the City to build stairs down an embankment to a local park that houses community gardens. During that time he has watched numerous people stumble, and sometimes fall, down the steep slope that features only a dirt path with some large rocks and a thin rope to use for balance.
After consulting with his local councillor, Astle was shocked to find out that the City provided an estimate of $65,000 to $150,000 for the project. So, he set out to build his own set – with the assistance of a homeless person he hired – and, after approximately 14 hours of labour and $550 in materials, the former mechanic’s project was complete.
Despite the overwhelming support and praise received by area residents who use the park, Toronto bylaw officers have asked Astle to remove his construction and have taped off the stairs to discourage pedestrian use.
The city’s mayor has acknowledged that the estimate sounds, “completely out of whack with reality” however he still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city laws and build public structures themselves.
The area councillor has requested that, while the city makes a decision on how to move forward on the issue, the stairs be left as the spot seems safer with the stairs than without them.
After reviewing many of the posted pictures I can see how some of the mayor’s concerns of proper footings are legitimate but I also admire Astle for taking the initiative to get something done when the proper authorities were getting nowhere with red tape.
Often we need to look past all the rules and regulations that we keep piling on as time passes and realize that just a little common sense can get us a lot further.
Yes, perhaps the railing isn’t as sturdy as it should be (although it’s really not that bad) and the top step appears to be split instead of a solid piece but, like many of the local residents and councillor seem to agree, what Astle has created is much safer than what was there before – and it didn’t cost $65,000.
Note: Since this editorial was written the City of Toronto has dismantled the stairs, promising to build new ones in the very near future for a slightly more reasonable estimate of $10,000.