Horse before the cart approach to photo enforcement review

speeding

To the Mayor, Council, and fellow citizens

After attending the council meeting last night (13 May 2014), I have some concerns with regards to the review schedule presented to council by Mr. Schaefer. My biggest concern and one which should concern us all is no formal public consultation until after the enforcement contract is awarded. I would compare this to tendering a bid for a contractor to build a house with no blueprints, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Awarding a contract to an Enforcement Agency with no clear plan in place leaves us in the same position we were in before, no real say in how speed is enforced. Unless of course, the Director has already made up his mind and plans to continue as if the plebiscite never happened and that the “review” is only a smoke screen to sooth things down in the community. I hope for the sake of our community that this is not the case.

I have a tendency to believe unfortunately that this is the case, after hearing some of the comments Mr. Schaefer has made in the past, and a comment he made last night. One comment I was particularly disturbed by was his statement that there was no input from the public on how the program was to be run, just the will of some of the people to get rid of it. There is documented proof that many citizens have complained over the past three years as to how the current contractor and the Town have been conducting Photo Enforcement, all falling on deaf ears. The plebiscite was the last resort from concerned citizens, not the first. A second comment which will forever be burned in my memory is the statement that no mater how the citizens of Morinville voted, the town could still use Photo Enforcement because the Petition stipulated Radar, and not Laser. A clear indication that no matter what the will of the people indicates, that in Mr. Schaefer’s opinion and expertise, there is nothing wrong with the program as it is being run currently run and nothing should change.

As a concerned citizen, and property owner in this town, I would like to submit the following suggestions to our council in the approach to reviewing Photo Enforcement and awarding the contract.

To be conducted before the awarding of the contract:

1) Conduct a poll questioning the citizens as to how they would like to see Photo Enforcement conducted. This should have been done before the original contract was awarded.

2) Draft a By Law for which the Enforcement Contractor must follow when operating within Town Corporate limits. This By Law should contain definitions of Transition Zones, Definitions of School Zones and types of photo enforcement equipment operators are permitted to use. Creating such a By Law would show the community that the Photo Enforcement people have rules to follow while conducting operations and that it is not just a free for all. It has been with great frustration that when I have been looking for information on what is permitted and not permitted with regards to Photo Enforcement, all I find are the Provincial Guidelines and these I have been told “are only Guidelines and don’t need to be followed.” Enacting a By Law such as this, would give the citizens a clearer vision as to how the town is protecting them on both sides of the fence.

3) Once the By Law is drafted, hold a town meeting to sell the By Law to the people. This will show open transparency and create better trust with the community.

4) Pass the By Law and open the contract to the bidding process. Following these four steps would give council greater transparency to the public. This would give people the opportunity to have their concerns addressed before it is too late because of contract obligations which does not allow the type of enforcement the people want.

In closing, I would like to reinforce my thoughts that the current schedule is putting the Horse before the cart and is generally keeping the public out of the picture until it is too late for them to have any input as to how we want our community to be policed with Photo Enforcement.

Rick Price, Morinville

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9 Comments

  1. At what point can we finally give this waste of time and money a rest? All of these meetings and votes and bylaws and inquiries cost money and as a homeowner and taxpayer in the town, I’m getting tired of paying for this nonsense all because a few individuals couldn’t make the responsible choice to drive the speed limit, were fined, and feel they shouldn’t have to pay.
    For 3 years photo radar in this town has been operating in the same locations. Everyone knows they are there. If you get a ticket, it’s YOUR fault. Pay the fine an slow down. Stop blaming the photo enforcement contractor for doing the job they were hired to do: catch speeders and issue them tickets.
    Steve Ives
    Morinville resident

    • Mr. Ives, read my comment to Mr. Norris as it also applies to you. I will however add that I have no problem with people getting speeding tickets, you are right, they have broken the law. What I do have a problem with is when the enforcement of speed is only conducted to raise revenues and not keep me safe in my community. We all think our taxes are too high, and I agree. But the question I will ask you, is at what point do we give up our constitutional rights to keep our taxes down. The fine from a speeding ticket is too low to warrant going to court to fight it, therefore you are voluntarily giving up your right to a trial, think about it.

  2. Oh hum,,, here we go again,,,,, stop wasting my taxpayer money. I agree with Mr. Steve Ives, if the people stop speeding they will not get a ticket. Get over it, we employ the company to do a job and they comply with all the laws.

    • Mr. Norris, its quite obvious you miss the point of what I was trying to make. The waste of taxpayer’s money is the cultural center which nobody really wanted, the waste of taxpayers money is the proposed traffic circles on main street, but I will not say that democracy is a waste of taxpayers money. In a democracy we elect people to take care of our affairs in matters such as building a healthy community and passing By Laws to keep us safe. If I as a taxpayer have no say in how elected officials take care of these matters, then they are not complying with the law. The town council promised us a review of how they were conducting Photo Enforcement, this review was to include input from the public. The message I got from the Council meeting is that there will be no public input until after the contract is awarded to the winning bid. If I am not mistaken, in order to bid on a contract, you need to know the job description. This essentially means we have no say in any aspect of the review, another broken promise. If you are happy with that, then don’t complain when your taxes go up because of other issues you have no say in. You are right, “we employ the company,” but as a taxpayer, I have no right to see what kind of contract he has signed with the town on my behalf. Your public input on this would be greatly welcomed, but wait, because of the way the review is structured, it wont mean anything.

    • Mr. Norris, just to set the record straight, neither the person who started the petition nor his two helpers have received ANY photo radar tickets to-date, so obviously speeding is not the issue here.
      Thank you

    • “Oh hum,,, here we go again,,,,, stop wasting my taxpayer money”

      And just how, pray tell, is any of THIS wasting YOUR taxpayer $$$??

      You sir, as one of our Town Administration’s “Talking Heads” touting photo radar as a “safety” tool on the one hand, and in the very next breath threatening all sorts of dire financial consequences if we got rid of this “tool”, are one of the biggest hypocrites ever…

      You remind me a lot of “Susan” (See her intelligent comment, above).

      Ah well, at least we are still able to have these ‘discussions’ in our society…

      Have a nice day!

      By-the-by, I’ve never had a photo radar ticket either!

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