Kayaking business goes under after being slapped with city fee

Tuesday, 12 August 2008
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There is a bit of controversy brewing here in Toronto between the city bylaw enforcement and Toronto Canoe and Kayak Adventures.

For the past 8 years Toronto Canoe and Kayak Adventures run by Ted Cordina has been running a small business that offers boat rentals and guided tours. They launch from Kings Mill Park as an entrance to the Humber River.

All this time they have been using the river no charge but the city has now demanded that he pay $38 per hour to use the park for business use including erecting a small meeting tent...
There is a bit of controversy brewing here in Toronto between the city bylaw enforcement and Toronto Canoe and Kayak Adventures.

For the past 8 years Toronto Canoe and Kayak Adventures run by Ted Cordina has been running a small business that offers boat rentals and guided tours. They launch from Kings Mill Park as an entrance to the Humber River.

All this time they have been using the river no charge but the city has now demanded that he pay $38 per hour to use the park for business use including erecting a small meeting tent.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Bill Saundercook said that kayaking the Humber River is an excellent experience but said a kayaking business has to follow permit and safety rules.

"(Cordina) has to work out those details - I'm here to support him - but he has to understand that those rules are important to the safety of all," said Saundercook.

Cordina says it would cost the company almost $300,000 to set up a canopy tent for five-months-a-year, eight-hours-a-day, at each of its six access points across the city: the Humber River, Sunnyside Beach, Cherry Beach, the Rouge River, and two east end beaches.

"How come the car companies are getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the government when they're a dying industry that is bad for the environment, while budding recreational companies are being financially burdened by the city?" asked Cordina.

My take on this issue is this. If you are a for-profit business then you should be paying permit fees just like other business operating on City property. If you are paying $300,000 in permit fees, then you might want to redesign your business model so you are not spread over six sites all season long. There just aren't that many people paddling in Toronto to justify that many locations.

More info: insidetoronto.ca
David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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