The case of the $600 stairs

RE: Spend­ing pub­lic money

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

Re­cently a se­nior in Toronto built eight wooden steps in his lo­cal park for $500. The city of Toronto es­ti­mated it would cost be­tween $65,000 and $150,000.

The im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion of the city per­son­nel was to in­struct the se­nior to re­move the steps or face the con­se­quences. A con­struc­tion con­trac­tor was con­sulted by a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion to es­ti­mate what would be a rea­son­able charge for such con­struc­tion and he es­ti­mated it would cost around $2,000 and take just two of his em­ploy­ees one day to com­plete.

As a re­sult of the pub­lic­ity, Toronto Mayor John Tory asked Toronto City staff re­spon­si­ble to ex­plain their es­ti­mate.

Ul­ti­mately, city staff tore down the steps cit­ing safety rea­sons. It took six city staff with two trucks to com­plete the tear down. Ap­par­ently Mayor Tory had spo­ken with the se­nior and as­sured him the city would re­place them with steps that met safety stan­dards for no more than $10,000.

Given the ab­sur­dity the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate com­pared to the ac­tual cost, the es­ti­mate by a pro­fes­sional con­trac­tor and the fi­nal city cost we are surely left won­der­ing how of­ten this sort of crazy cost­ing oc­curs when pub­lic dol­lars are in­volved, and at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, when saner heads do not in­ter­vene. Les Far­ring­ton, An­caster

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.