by Tristan Turner
Morinville – The Town’s contract with Edmonton-based Independent Traffic Services (ITS) will continue on a month-to-month basis while Council considers potential changes to the photo radar program, including who will provide the service. In their first meeting since the Apr. 14 plebiscite that saw voters narrowly cast their ballots in favour of keeping photo radar, Council voted unanimously in favour of going forward a month at a time. ITS’ contract with the Town ended in December but was extended until Apr. 30 to continue the program pending the results of the vote.
Administration provided Council with three possible options at the Apr. 22 meeting: renew the contract with ITS, end the contract while a review was done, or continue the contract a month at a time while a review of the program was conducted.
The monthly contract extension was given as a temporary measure to prevent interruptions to current photo radar enforcement while Council engages in a public review process of the photo radar program, as well as the contractor. Continuing the contract on a month-to-month basis ensures no interruptions with other agencies related to traffic enforcement, including Servus Alberta, something Administration said could take several months to establish again.
Although timelines for the review were set to begin in May and end in September, Council requested Administration to present a revised timeline at their next meeting after Councillor Nicole Boutestein and Deputy Mayor Gord Putnam raised concerns. Boutestein felt final presentation to the public should be placed before the two- to six-month implementation process, while Deputy Mayor Putnam felt Council and Administration should be given more time for the review. “I’m prepared to slow the process down because I want to get it right,” Putnam said. “I’d love to have the input from all of the public about photo radar.”
It is anticipated review of the photo radar program, including public engagement, will take four to eight months. The review process will include developing a new photo radar strategy, meeting with the Alberta Solicitor General to discuss potential changes to the program and putting a contract out to tender.
In a motion arising by Councillor Stephen Dafoe, Council voted 6-1 in favour of adding a member of Council to the Town’s Traffic Advisory Committee. Deputy Mayor Gord Putnam cast the only opposing vote.
For Morinville residents, Council’s decision means photo radar enforcement will operate in the same way it currently is unless Council decides to make any arising changes in the interim before the review is complete.