Scarborough bans South Asian Kite Fighting

Miliken Park has been home to kite flying for years and has even hosted kite-flying festivals. This week, the city banned the activity in this 79.6 acre park located at Steeles Avenue and McCowan Road by imposing a $100 fine. Their claim is that discarded strings are a safety concern.
Local residents have supposedly been inconvenienced by the discarded strings and it has been reported that birds have been strangled by them. Whatever the reasoning behind the ban; kite flyers are certainly upset by this ban.
The National Post reported:
“I think it’s an overreaction. It’d be like banning sticks because someone got poked in the eye with the stick,” said Dave Meslin, co-ordinator of WindFest, Toronto’s first waterfront kite festival, which will be held in October.
Many Afghan-Canadians use the park for family picnics to participate in various aerial battles where opponents attempt to cut each others’ strings. Kite fighting, portrayed in Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel and later movie "The Kite Runner," is a national passion in Afghanistan.
The Gogi Kite Club which has used the park for the past 6 years is upset that no one consulted them before making the decision. The club says it behaves responsibly and has 4 people designated to clean up after their activities. It plans on leading a protest at the Scarborough Civic Centre this coming Saturday.
Brenda Patterson, the city’s general manager of parks, forestry and recreation said that her staff did post signs requesting kite enthusiasts to clean up after themselves but that didn’t work. Patterson admitted the ban was not a good long term solution; banning merely shifts the problem to another locale. She would like to see a dialogue with the kite-fighting community in order to address the city’s concerns.
Mr. Malik, head of the Gogi Kite Club has stated he would like to reach a compromise insisting most fliers play by the rules. "We’re going to try out best to convince them. If the mayor has any issue, if the councillor has any issue, we’ll try to solve them."
CTV News reported:
Milliken Park became Greater Toronto’s major kite-flying site after the city banned the sport from Bluffer’s Park on Lake Ontario; sliced kite line was floating out to the water and gumming up boat engines. Milliken and Bluffer’s are the only Toronto parks where kites are forbidden.

Click HERE to read more columns by William Belle.

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