Trouble in the skies
It’s been a turbulent, and surprisingly political, year for competitive kite fliers in Toronto, who have brought the popular South Asian and East Asian pastime of duels in the sky to city parks. After years of quietly tangling with opponents and slicing each others’ strings, the kite fighters made headlines last August when Councillor Chin Lee exposed the dangerous side of a seemingly inoffensive activity, its leftover twine strewn all over Scarborough’s Milliken Park, neighbouring homes and schoolyards. Having seen photos of how the nylon string, coated with glass fragments, injures wildlife, Mr. Lee’s concerns led the city to ban kite flying altogether in Milliken Park, unleashing the scorn of kite enthusiasts across the city.
City staff are now floating new regulations that differentiate between “kite fighting,” which uses abrasive string, and “competitive kite flying,” which employs a biodegradable, cotton string. The proposal is to ban the hazardous material used in the former, while issuing permits for the latter, and restricting it to certain of sites.