Nope. It’s not about the perfect being the enemy of the good or any such nonsense, it’s about the fact that what’s good enough for someone’s backyard is by definition not going to be good enough for a public walkway in a public park. The city has to abide by its own code, and it has to build something that will last for a long time and be safe to use for a long time. It has to do this not just because of government regulations but because it will get its ass sued off if it puts in something that isn’t durable or safe and then someone falls and breaks their neck trying to use it.
Exactly. Those amateur built stairs are fine for your backyard if you don’t mind not having a permit and don’t mind redoing it every few years because they’ve eroded to uselessness and the only people being put in danger by your shoddy work are yourself and your family.
On a steep slope like that, in Toronto’s climate, you need deep foundations to protect against frost heaving, you need to shore up the slope for a ways out on either side of the steps so the whole thing won’t wash out with the first spring thaw, and so on. The stairs by themselves, done properly in your backyard, are (educated guess) a low five-figure job. Add more for landscaping and more for plans, surveys, and permits, and I can see it, as a backyard project, edging up past 20k. But it’s not being done in your backyard.
Considering that it’s a public park, you have to make the stairs wide enough to be used by multiple people going both ways at once. You have to make it durable enough to be used not hundreds or low thousands of times a year, but hundreds of thousands or millions of times a year. Both of those add quite a bit to the cost compared to a backyard project. I can see the cost going to 50k even before we add in the fact that it’s being done by a municipality and you have to have competitive bids and public hearings and use union labour and so on.