Call for Kiteboarders to Protect Local Wildlife
We have recently received a letter from Toronto Conservation Authority about the issue of kiteboarding near Cherry Beach downtown Toronto. On behalf of the Toronto kiteboarding community we would like to ask all kiteboarders who use Cherry Beach for their practice location to please stay out of the embayments at Tommy Thompson Park located on the Leslie Street extension into the peninsula across the bay from Cherry Beach. We all love the outdoors so we are sure that the community can appreciate the importance of protecting wildlife in a precious urban wilderness like Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto.
There isn’t an issue with launching from Cherry Beach, only with entering the nearby embayments at Tommy Thompson Park. The issue is regarding the practice of kiteboarding within the sheltered embayments of Tommy Thompson Park.
As we know periodically kiteboarders enter the sheltered embayments of the park. Kiteboarding within these embayments (particularly Embayment A, Embayment B and East Cove marked on the map) causes significant detrimental impacts to the wildlife present. During the winter these sites are an important area for waterfowl to seek shelter. Unfortunately when a kiteboarder enters the embayment all of the birds are scared off (expending vital energy) and do not return for a significant period of time if at all.
Additionally, during the warmer months these embayments are adjacent to sensitive breeding colonies for a number of bird species. As you can imagine, the presence of kiteboarders within this area is very disruptive to birds – causing stress, scaring birds off of nests and resulting in unattended (and subsequently predated) nests, and discouraging ground nesting among colonial water birds.
Tommy Thompson Park is listed as both a City of Toronto Environmentally Significant Area as well as an Important Bird Area. These designations are largely due to the fact that the park offers such ideal sheltered habitat to waterfowl and colonial water birds. As such we are very concerned by the effect of kiteboarding on these species.
We all hope that this can be heard by every kiteboarder around, please spread this article. Practice fun and considerate kiteboarding!