Barricades can’t keep residents from using, and fixing, ravine stairs: Fixer
When the city won’t fix a well-used staircase that leads into a local ravine, the neighbours just might take matters into their own hands.
And no amount of fences or impediments erected to keep them away will deter industrious people from making temporary repairs needed to continue using the stairs.
Rudy Limeback sent us a tweet about broken stairs that descend from Heath Cr., near Mt. Pleasant Rd. and St. Clair Ave., after our Wednesday column about a similar problem in a city park.
The stairs lead down a steep hillside and into the gorgeous Vale of Avoca Ravine that cuts through the middle of the city and dissects both Deer Park and David A. Balfour Park.
For a big city, Toronto is blessed with many enchanting parks and ravines, but the Vale of Avoca is as stunning a retreat as can possibly be imagined in the inner city.
But access is limited, which makes the stairs from Heath Cr. a key point of entry for people in the Mt. Pleasant-St. Clair area.
We checked it out and found a temporary steel fence at the entrance to the stairs, along with a steady stream of people climbing over it to go in and out.
A man who had just hopped the fence with a small boy said the stairs are used as a handy shortcut to get to and from a public school on the other side of the ravine. He said barricades have been in place for about two years.
While we were talking, a woman and her dog ascended and jumped the fence. We asked them if the stairs were in bad shape, since lots of people seem to be using them.
They were, said the woman, until neighbours decided to do something about it, after hearing they wouldn’t be fixed any time soon, due to an estimated cost of at least $ 250,000.
“We don’t really want to draw any attention to it,” she said, reluctantly explaining that a handy guy rebuilt some of the stairs and replaced others with sawed-off logs.
We descended the steep staircase and found several spots where the original steps had been replaced with good-quality wood, and other places where a log was used for the same purpose.
It may be the city’s responsibility, but it’s a fine example of how good people take care of their own neighbourhood.
STATUS: We’ve sent a note to the parks department, asking if there’s a plan to fix the stairs, and when it might be done. Not that there’s any hurry.
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