Gone fishin’

By ,Toronto Sun
 
Like Bing and Louis sing;
 
I’ve gone fishin,
Sounds crazy I known,
I know nothing ’bout fishing
But just watch me go.
_______________________________________________________

Toronto anglers are casting a line to the city’s executive committee to see if they’ll bite on designating parts of the waterfront as a ‘Gone Fishing’ zone.

But while some councillors say there’s a benefit to public fishing, they’re not swallowing the idea hook, line and sinker.

Signs appeared on June 5 in public parks west of Unwin Ave. to near Sunnyside Park, indicating no fishing allowed along the waterfront. As many as 10,000 local anglers are affected and many say they’ve been fishing at these spots for decades without any trouble.

“City parks have always been open for fishing,” said avid angler David Kearney, 42. “The fishing community has respected the sign and stopped fishing. We were told we could fish Ontario Place up until when it goes under construction. But it’s so filled with garbage, you can’t fish there.”

Councillor Paula Fletcher will bring her “Gone Fishin’” motion to the executive committee Tuesday, which requests all public bodies along the lakeshore “refrain from interfering with sport finish unless the activity compromises public safety.”

Under section 608-38 of Toronto’s municipal code, urban fishing is allowed so long as there isn’t a sign prohibiting it.

Besides the city, the land along the waterfront belongs to the Toronto Port Authority, Ontario Place, Harbourfront Centre and a variety of private companies.

But Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said he hasn’t received complaints from anglers about the signs and doesn’t want to root for Fletcher’s idea without hearing from city officials.

“I want to hear from staff why they’ve taken this action and what the problems are, I don’t think they’d do such a thing without a reason,” he said.

“There’s always two sides of a matter and I think we have to hear this one out. There’s probably a benefit to (fishing) at some locations.”

Fletcher also wants to establish “as much as possible” of Toronto’s waterfront as a “Gone Fishing” zone and for city lawyers to review the legalities of these signs.

“The city needs to have a really close look and say fishing is a great recreational sport, lots of people do it and as much of the waterfront as possible is open for fishing and we find areas that can be set aside,” she said.

“There’s probably a bunch of these by-laws across the waterfront. It’s very confusing on the waterfront? Everyone owns a piece. It’s another fishing hole closed by bureaucrats.”

Many anglers, Kearney said, who used to fish at Harbourfront Centre were told last fall that people could not bring their lures and rods on their property. Anglers were told to leave and some were told they could face a $2,000 fine.

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