This week brought two outrageous examples of bureauocracy gone amok.
In Toronto a 73-year-old retiree is facing hefty fines because he dared to take the initiative and try to improve his local community. The man lives in a seniors highrise which abuts a community garden and park. However, the garden is not available to many because there is not a proper access to it. Many of the residents of the complex have been easing down a small slope to get to the garden. In the process many have slipped and fallen and there has been more than one broken bone as a result.
The man wanted a short staircase built to provide access and approached his local councillor about the issue. It seems the council had seen the need for such an access previously because a study had already been done and an 8 step stairway could be built for between $150,000 and $600,000. Too much the city said!
Well this retiree took the initiative, bought the lumber and built it himself for less than $600. But the city wants it gone! We can`t have being just going out on their own and improving the community they said.
Meanwhile, in England, the Tower Hamlets council officer has fined a 5-year old girl almost $250 for setting up a lemonade stand outside her home. The stand was only open for about 30 minutes when four police officers approached and advised the girl`s family that the stand would have to be closed because she did not have the proper `trade permit`. The girl had wanted to have the stand because there was a festival being held in the area, but one again officialdom stepped in to crush her initiative.
Sometimes the Public/Civil Service really is the Silly Service!
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.