Petition looking to put the brakes on photo radar

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Cliff Haryett poses with his petition to have photo radar abolished in Morinville. The Sunshine Lake resident began collecting signatures Friday. He needs 900 to have the petition presented to Council for consideration. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – If Sunshine Lake resident Cliff Haryett has his way; photo radar will be a thing of the past in town. Haryett is looking for 900 signatures for his petition to abolish photo radar in Morinville and intends to have all the signatures within 45 to 60 days.

“It’s all over safety,” he said. “They are trying to sell us photo radar and [I take issue with] their lack of transparency and their collecting money versus public safety. Few to no cross walk lights were put up, even though mega dollars have been collected [through photo radar] over the past few years.”

Haryett is concerned with what he sees as unethical practices of the Town’s photo radar contractor, particularly hiding the observation vehicle behind buildings. The Town’s Director of Corporate Operations, David Schaefer, has defended the practice as being acceptable under provincial guidelines governing automated enforcement. Haryett questions the practice and said Morinville should set itself to a higher standard of ethics if the purpose of automated enforcement is safety.

“Why are they monitoring so closely in front of Tim Hortsons?” Haryett asks. “Myself personally, I make 500 trips across Sunnydale Road to my mailbox and back every year, but we ask them why they don’t monitor between these two parks. No change. Nothing has changed over three years. They told me to wait until the new Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Review was done. We read it and it appears nothing is going to change.”

The lack of what he sees as a response to his concerns has prompted him to get 900 signatures calling on Council to enact a bylaw to boot photo radar out of the community and turn speed enforcement over to the RCMP and Morinville’s Community Peace Officers, a boots-on-the-ground approach he believes will be more effective in curbing speeders and keeping the community safe.

Haryett said he framed the petition such that the proposed bylaw would prohibit the Town from simply eliminating the contractor and taking on the manning of the cameras and radar guns themselves. “I want the boots on the ground, moving around town where they should be, and monitoring the whole town instead of specific areas.”

The resident said he is aware the sudden loss of photo radar revenue would mean an increased burden to the taxpayer, but he is confident it is one many would gladly pay. “It is going to cost the average homeowner, I would estimate, in the neighbourhood of $50 per household per year,” he said. “But it would also take the frustration the general public has with these operators away, and the general public should feel safer. It is well worth that $50 per household to do that.”

Signatures the first step

Haryett said once the 900 signatures have been collected, the Town of Morinville has 30 days to verify the signatures as eligible. Once verified, the petition would be presented to Council to deal with; however, it does not guarantee the bylaw Haryett is proposing would be proposed or voted on. He is hoping for resolution without need to call for a plebiscite.

The Sunshine Lake resident will spend the campaign season door knocking along side many candidates, looking for signatures and taking advantage of the heightened interest in municipal matters to press his issue. Additionally, Haryette is planning to catch voters as they leave the polling stations Oct. 21.

“If we put the boots on the ground, a person who gets four two-point demerits in a year – that person will also get a letter from the driver’s review board, which will also put more attention into him and his habit, then four tickets,” Haryette said, adding he believes the demerit points are more effective than any ticket received weeks later in the mail.

Those interested in learning more about Haryette’s petition can call 780-939-6885 or email lindaly@telusplanet.net.

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18 Comments

  1. Where can i sign this? I can tell you from personal experience that when i get a photo radar a month after i was caught speeding it does absolutely nothing to slow me down. When i get pulled over by an officer with the cherrys flashing I will be very aware of my speed for many days after. Some food for thought http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BKdbxX1pDw
    remember speed kills… your pocketbook.

  2. Photo radar is not now and never has been about safety, despite disingenuous claims to the contrary. The purpose of photo radar is revenue generation and the Town, like various other communities and levels of government is addicted to that income stream. Council uses the spectre of an increased tax burden to keep residents in line and fearful of eliminating their addiction. If the purpose of photo radar was truly about safety Council would enthusiastically direct revenue received towards subsequent safety initiatives so as to compound the effect of making the roads safer for pedestrians and vehicles alike. These initiatives could take various forms such as Defensive Driving Courses, in person enforcement, signage, etc. But these things aren’t there because the funds are used as general revenue and that really tells us all we need to know about the value placed on “safety” when it comes to photo radar.

  3. What was the town doing to generate revenue before photo radar? Again, this business is all about $$! People want to see improvements within the community but why not support our locals and our local businesses in a more positive manner than fining the people within and those who visit? There must be a better way for the town to draw money out of its tax payers than this false claim of creating safety. If this company put its vehicles in the actual areas of concern, caught the culprits who put the public at risk….my guess is revenues would be down exponentially. AND WHY would they be down, if not almost nothing? Because people are decent, law abiding citizens. NOT speeding maniacs looking to get from point A to point B 10 seconds quicker….Even better, let the REAL law enforcement ENFORCE THE LAW!

  4. Cliff is splitting the town into six sections and we will be door knocking on the weekends and potentially during the week between 4:30 and 6:00. If we happen to miss you, then we will be at the Cultural Centre on Election Day collecting signatures.

    If this doesn’t work for you, please call us at (780)939-6885.

  5. Where can this be signed??? I want to sign it and I have MANY MANY MANY others who will too. I am a South Glens resident who is sick to death of them sitting at the transition zone on Cardiff Rd. This is a Cash Grab that I want to see GONE!!!!!!!!

    ***Please post a link or info on where to sign – or please post when you might make it around to South Glens so I can make sure I am home to sign!***

    • As written at the end of the article …

      “Those interested in learning more about Haryette’s petition can call 780-939-6885 or email lindaly@telusplanet.net.”

      Also as written in the article…

      “The Sunshine Lake resident will spend the campaign season door knocking along side many candidates, looking for signatures and taking advantage of the heightened interest in municipal matters to press his issue. Additionally, Haryette is planning to catch voters as they leave the polling stations Oct. 21.”

  6. I will most definitely be NOT signing this ridiculous petition. Photo radar does not effect me as I choose to obey the speed limits, no matter if my opinion is that they are too low. I am not ok with taxes going up to cover the lost photo radar monies. I don’t pay tickets now so why the heck would I agree to pay more taxes so all the speeders don’t have to pay their photo radar tickets? You speed, you pay!

    Also, photo radar is a deterant regardless if they are hiding or not. People should be afraid to speed in case there happens to be a photo radar vehicle hiding behind the building, tree, or bend. Actually, them hiding should be more effective than having to be in plain site. Those who find themselves unwilling to obey the law would continue to do so when no radar is present.

    Also, Mr. Haryett’s estimate of $50 a year (wherever he got that number from) to cover the lost monies doesn’t take into account the extra tax we will have to pay in order to hire more RCMP/POs to put their ‘boots to the ground’.

    This complaining really needs to stop. It’s not the photo radar guys fault that their business is prospering in Morinville. It’s all those who choose to speed. Like I said in a previous article comment, you want them to leave, stop paying them to be here.

  7. I agree with Melissa. If you don’t speed, you don’t pay. Why should I pay more taxes so people can keep speeding through the town that I’m paying to live in. It doesn’t make sense.

  8. Good for you Melissa for following the posted speed. I do the same when the posted signs make sense. I cannot figure out the logic of a 50 kph zone for south glens on Cardiff road that has no sidewalks but the gravel walking trail coming out of south glens adjacent to 100 st on the way to Tim Hortons is a 60 kph zone.
    WTF.
    How’s that for safety.
    That road also has an s curve that is safe to drive at 60 but the straight road to Cardiff is 50 kph. CASH COW!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Would a petition to raise the speed limit on Cardiff road not make alot more sense than getting rid of the whole radar issue? I’m with Melissa, a tax increase so that others won’t have to pay their fines is BS. My family got a ticket in 2008, we didn’t bitch or whine, we adjusted our driving habits to conform with the law. Not saying I’m a perfect driver, but I make damm sure I don’t speed in built up areas or Town limits.

  10. Thank you to the South Glens residents for your support today. We will be back tomorrow for about an hour or so. If we missed you, please come and find us or phone at 780-939-6885 or email at lindaly@telusplanet.net.
    Linda and Cliff

  11. I think you will have no problem getting the numbers for your petition and am so glad someone is doing something. Good for you:)

  12. Don’t come to my house!! This is absolutely ridiculous! If you do the crime, you do the time! I got one photo radar ticket in the mail not long after I moved here 3 years ago and I haven’t got one since? Why? Because I adjusted my driving habits, it’s really that simple.

  13. Melissa, you are wrong about the photo radar being good. It is nothing but a cash grab that gets set up on the edge of town to get drivers transitioning from highway to town speed. I live on a street that is used as a shortcut for people to avoid the main intersection with the traffic lights and I can tell you from experience there are drivers going through there well over the speed limit. Yet no traffic enforcement there. Talking with others in town who live near parks and schools there is never any speed enforcement in those areas either. The town sets up where they can get the optimum cash flow and not necessarily where the biggest safety issues are. If the town started to enforce in those areas that are higher risk even if not as high a revenue flow for them then it would be fine. But they do not.

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