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Kingston’s Poker Run is back, but some environmentalists are calling for a ban

WATCH: They're fast and attract a lot of attention but some say the Poker Run should be banned following the city declaring a climate emergency

For the last 30 years, some of the fastest boats in North America have descended upon the Thousand Islands region for the annual Poker Run.

Boats like the My Way, driven by Bill Tomlinson, boast two 3,000-horsepower turbines that are also used on large helicopters.

Kingston has played host to exotic race boats like the My Way for the last 10 years, but not everyone is a fan.

This weekend marks the first Poker Run since the city declared a climate emergency in March.

WATCH (April 3, 2019): Now that Kingston has declared a climate emergency, what happens next?

Now that Kingston has declared a climate emergency, what happens next?
Now that Kingston has declared a climate emergency, what happens next?

Environmentalists like Aidan Tomkinson, who started the Fridays for Future movement in Kingston, says city council and city staff need to ban the event if they stand behind their declaration.

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“These Poker Run boats, they create as much carbon emissions as a flight from Toronto to Vancouver, which is a lot,” the 16-year-old activist said.

More than 60 boats entered this year’s Poker Run, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Boats travel the Thousand Islands and drivers pick up playing cards in Brockville, Gananoque and Prescott.

Whoever has the best poker hand at the end of the run wins.

WATCH (Aug. 18, 2019): 30th annual Thousand Islands Poker Run

30th annual Thousand Islands Poker Run
30th annual Thousand Islands Poker Run

Veteran participant Chris Ridabock is racing with his 1987 Cobalt to celebrate the anniversary.

Ridabock admits the boats produce carbon, but he adds the tourism and charity work the Poker Run brings to the city can’t be overlooked.

“It enhances the tourism trade dramatically during the time that we’re here,” he said, adding he’s open to the future of boating.

“Electric motors are actually way more efficient than internal combustion so maybe we’re going that way. Maybe we’ll have electric for the 40th anniversary.”