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Toronto councillor declares war on kite-based violence

Toronto councillor declares war on kite-based violence

If asked to name the most pressing concern regarding violence against both people and wildlife in the city, people might name guns, or maybe tall glass buildings. That’s why we have city councillors, to think outside the box and alert us to the real dangers: kites. Scarborough Councillor Chin Lee has banned the flying of kites in Milliken Park in the northern end of his ward, and the bizarre thing is that he might have been right to do it.

The Toronto Star has the story:

At issue is the popular pursuit of kite fighting which leaves the park littered with dozens of metres of string and ravaged kites, Lee said. The sharp nylon string, like fishing wire, has strangled birds and cut people, he said, adding the string has snared animals and created one-legged ducks and geese.

“Apparently the string gets wound around their legs, cutting off circulation to the limbs, which then eventually fall off,” Lee (Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River) said in a news release.

Ouch.

Kite flyers like Gogi Malik are calling this a gross over-reaction. He blames a small minority of hobbyists for the mess left in the park and says he would have liked some warning before the activity was banned outright. The ban was imposed so quickly because Lee was able to get city staff to ban kites without bringing it before council. (We’re pretty sure council could undo it, though, so this might not be the last we hear of this.) Councillor Lee, for his part, has dug his heels in pretty far on this one, telling the CBC that if kite flyers move to another park, the city will just extend the ban.

Looking at a map, maybe kite fighters want to test the resolve of the city of Markham; Milne Dam Conservation Park is just a bit north of Milliken, and beyond Councillor Chin’s reach. Unless, of course, the city wants to try stopping kite bootleggers on their way out of the city, which is so absurd it might be plan B.

• Kite flying banned in Milliken Park [Toronto Star] • Toronto kite flying ban flies in face of traditions [Globe and Mail] • Toronto bans kite flying in city park [CBC News] • Safety concerns cited in Miliken Park kite ban [National Post]

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