Mono moves to ban battling kites after massive cleanup in Island Lake last year

March 14, 2024   ·   0 Comments


With summer around the corner, kite fighting in the sky above Mono could return.

And the lack of progress on a bylaw to curb litter from battling kites has Mono’s town council concerned.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix revisited the subject during council’s regular meeting on March 12 as part of council’s unfinished business items.

“My only concern is, of course, if we don’t get that done soon, we’ll be into the summer season without any regulations on that,” Nix said.

Fred Simpson, the town’s clerk, said staff have looked into the issue and completed the required research. They were hoping the Town of Orangeville would address the issue with a bylaw that could be mirrored by Mono.

But that hasn’t happened.

“There is one example bylaw out there and we could use it as a model,” Simpson said.

He had hoped to have a draft bylaw for council’s consideration that more broadly dealt with airborne littering, he said. Oakville has a bylaw specifically against kite fighting. That’s the only jurisdiction in which there is such legislation that Mono staff could find.

“Unless council wants to pursue that broader solution,” Simpson said. “I can bring back the basic bylaw fairly quickly.”

The issue stems from a South Asian festival that involved flying kites in July 2023.

Basant Mela is the spring festival of kites to many people in northern India and Pakistan’s Punjab province. It traditionally welcomes the spring season. But it was a little more than watching a few kites take flight in the sky above the Orangeville Agricultural Society’s Fairgrounds.

“We were sandbagged over the kite-flying, combative kite-flying,” Mayor John Creelman said in July 2023.

Based on the fallout from the event, council discussed the need to ban flying kites in the municipality. Property owners complained about the debris that fell from the kites that battled in the sky. Island Lake Conservation Area staff pulled hundreds of kites and kite strings from its waterway as well as surrounding trees and trails. 

But such a wipe-sweeping kite ban would cause problems for a child who wants to fly a kite in his backyard.

“First of all, who would complain about a kid flying a kite?” Nix said during the July meeting. “I’d doubt anyone would. Even if they did and it was frivolous, our bylaw officers have the ability to use discretion as to what they enforce.”

Otherwise, Nix said, nuance of language could be used against mass kite-flying or kite fighting.

Simpson said on March 12 that a basic bylaw is ready for consideration.

“I think we should stick with a basic bylaw,” Nix said. “In the next year, if you find something better, we can always amend it.”

The draft bylaw could be tabled as soon as next month.

“It is ready to go,” Simpson said. “I’ve just been sitting on it for a while.”

Council decided to have the issue considered at its upcoming March 26 public meeting.

Councillor Melinda Davie commended Simpson on writing a broad bylaw to deal with an issue and not something that will have to later be amended however it suits council, “which seems to be a flavour of what we do and I’m finding disappointing,” she said.

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