by Calli Stromner
Morinville – Under the watchful eye of approximately a dozen town residents, Council gave First Reading to Photo Radar & Red Light Camera Bylaw 1/2014, eliminating the use of photo radar or red light camera enforcement and ensuring all traffic enforcement within town limits is carried out by RCMP or Community Peace Officers. The bylaw was triggered by a petition submitted by Morinville resident Cliff Haryett on Nov. 15. That petition was deemed valid by Administration and was formally received by Council on December 10.
Councillor Rob Ladouceur moved First Reading of the bylaw, which prompted a series of questions from Council regarding financial and human resource implications once the Bylaw is passed. Director of Corporate Operations David Schaefer explained that photo radar enforcement currently generates between $250,000-$350,000 in net revenue to the Town. In addition to losing this revenue, the Town would also be looking at either adding an RCMP member to the local detachment at a cost of about $112,000 or using Community Peace Officers for traffic enforcement. The latter would require the purchase of an additional enforcement vehicle for approximately $75,000-$80,000 and both options would require an additional Administrative Support position to handle the roughly 500 traffic tickets handed out every month.
Schaefer added that regardless of whether enforcement was carried out by an RCMP officer or a CPO, “100 per cent of their time would be spent writing tickets”, rather than carrying out other enforcement duties. He estimated that officers would spend about 10,000 minutes per month writing 500 traffic violation tickets as each traffic stop takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun informed Council that the proposed Bylaw has not yet been through a formal legal review and that the Bylaw could see amendments prior to Second Reading simply based on advice from legal counsel. Council has until Feb. 30 to either pass Second and Third Readings of the new bylaw or authorize Administration to conduct a vote of electors on the matter. Second Reading of the bylaw is scheduled to take place on Jan. 28.