Friday, May 3, 2019

DRONES AND THE HARASSMENT OF WILDLIFE IN SAM SMITH PARK


There have been some recent altercations between drone operators and park users over the harassment of wildlife. 

The City of Toronto's Park bylaw that does not allow the operation of "powered models of aircraft and rockets" in City parks does not include flying drones per se as prohibited and we are told that this is currently a grey area when it comes to successful prosecution in court.  The City is pursuing a definitive policy on this matter and it will be cleared up, hopefully sooner than later.

However, the City's Park bylaws are unequivocal when it comes to the harassment of wildlife - "disturbing wildlife" is definitely prohibited.  

So, drone operators who are observed buzzing the birds in the Swallow Field or the grebe nesting platforms, as well as the Snowy Owl out on the dock last winter, or, indeed, any other instance of wildlife harassment are to be reported immediately.

An official complaint has been launched by FOSS with the City's Bylaw Standards due to recent incidents and an investigation, as well as increased vigilance, has been assured.

The Municipal Standards Bylaw Enforcement officer responsible for Sam Smith Park is Gary Borges.  His cell phone number is 647 460 4270 (office 416 338 5706) and he has given us permission to give out his phone number so that a quicker response to an incident is possible.  

Calling the City at 311 and/or emailing 311@toronto.ca, as well as letting our Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes know, are all to be encouraged.  By law enforcement is for the most part complaint driven.

The City's Park bylaws can be seen here.  #608 - 37 covers wildlife harassment.

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