Orangeville looks to ban kite fighting after festival litters Island Lake

August 17, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

After dealing with the fallout of a South Asian Festival featuring kite fighting in July that filled Island Lake with abandoned kites and strings, Orangeville council is looking to prohibit the activity.

Councillor Tess Prendergast presented a notice of motion at a council meeting on Aug. 14, directing town staff to report back on banning kite fighting within Orangeville to prevent further willful destruction to municipal and private property. The motion received unanimous support.

The Basant Mela, a north Indian festival of kites, took place at the Orangeville Agricultural Society Fairgrounds on July 9, where kites were flown hundreds of feet in the air, and the people flying them attempted to cut each other’s lines, creating litter.

These kite lines are often made up of metal, piano wire, fishing line or nylon that can be chemically treated and coated in crushed glass.

The kite fighting resulted in numerous kites and lines getting caught in trees and the lake at the conservation area.

“Proceeding the [Basant Mela] event, abandoned kites and kite lines were discovered by residents and staff at the Credit Valley Conservation site at Island Lake,” said Coun. Prendergast. “Kite fighting is a dangerous and environmentally destructive sport, which is of potential harm to residents and wildlife of Orangeville and surrounding municipalities.” 

As a Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) Board member, Coun. Rick Stevens shared that the kite litter has resulted in numerous issues for the CVC, and he’d like to see a Dufferin County-wide ban on kite fighting.

“We can ban it in Orangeville, but the event wasn’t in Orangeville,” said Stevens of the Basant Mela, which took place at the Orangeville Fairgrounds in Mono.

Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post, who worked alongside Coun. Prendergast, on her notice of motion banning kite fighting, said they’re looking at an Orangeville-specific ban because Dufferin County Council can’t create or enforce county-wide bylaws. Each municipality has to write their own.

“The idea would be that once staff report back with suggestions on how we move forward, whether it be a bylaw or policy… the hope would be at that point that the bylaw could be adopted in Orangeville and be sent for endorsement and acceptance to all of the other Dufferin County municipalities,” said Mayor Post.

“I have been working very closely with Mayor Creelman in Mono as well, as this happened in his municipality. The team there has been highly impacted by trying to deal with the clean-up and through the organizers to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Mayor John Creelman said that the Town of Mono was “sandbagged” and “blind-sided” over the combative kite flying, having no idea that this form of kite flying was scheduled to take place.

Mono Deputy Mayor Fred Nix said the council was unaware that kite flying would occur at the festival when a special event permit was granted. He said the Orangeville Agricultural Society was aware kites would be flown but didn’t know they’d be engaging in aerial combat.

The festival organizers also told Mono council there would be about 1,500 people in attendance, but it’s believed there were anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 attendees.

Deputy Mayor Nix noted that noise complaints associated with Basant Mela were received, and he doesn’t think the community wants to have this event again next year.

Mono council is waiting for Orangeville to develop a bylaw prohibiting kite fighting that it can adopt.

Orangeville council is hoping all Dufferin County municipalities follow suit to have a unified approach to the issue.

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