The case of the $600 stairs
RE: Spending public money
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