Our first Council Coffee session was held June 25 on the topic of Morinville’s Photo Enforcement Program. The purpose was not to reopen the debate; it was to open our ears to what your vision for the program is moving forward.
We heard from you that the photo enforcement program should focus on safety rather than money. If it is supposed to be about safety, it should be just that. As such, ticketing in transition zones was frowned upon while enforcement in school zones, playground zones and park zones was applauded and supported. Other comments included concerns about the recent increase in the number of Morinville residents being issued tickets, particularly near schools which also led to discussion on the need for more enforcement in those areas with the photo enforcement operator positioned in the lower speed zone when issuing tickets in school zones.
Locations were seen as key to the program. While preference seems to have been clearly on school and playground zones, there was also interest in monitoring construction zones and residential areas. Suggestions included dividing the Town into districts and establish four sites within each district to rotate photo enforcement through the sites and districts to give full coverage of residential areas. Other comments included reducing the speed limit in residential areas to 40 kilometres per hour and the availability of a clear process to request the portable speed education sign when residents feel there are speeding problems in their neighbourhoods. There was also a desire to see more enforcement on 100 Avenue and 100 Street either by photo enforcement or Community Peace Officers.
While some participants expressed their concern that the program is viewed primarily as a money-grab, there were some interesting thoughts on how the Town could make use of its share of revenues. Comments captured included that it makes sense to pay off the Morinville Community Cultural Centre with photo enforcement revenues; however, monies could also be used for a future multi-use recreation facility. Regardless of the amount of the Town’s share of revenue, participants were vocal in that revenues should always be used in the community for the community. The solar powered crosswalk lights funded through photo enforcement revenue were appreciated, but it was suggested that 50 per cent of all revenues should be directed towards road improvements, including crosswalk painting, solar signs, and other safety related issues. Other suggestions included more maintenance on Morinville roads with respect to line painting and general safety concerns.
Transparency on the program was important to many of those who participated in the Council Coffee. Comments captured included appreciation of Council’s transparency in revisiting the program and opening it up to discussion; increase in reporting statistics from the various locations including accident reports which could be used to support the selection of various photo enforcement locations.
Additional general thoughts included mounting equipment on photo enforcement vehicles to make them more visible so drivers slow down, publishing a list of high flyers, using social media to announce enforcement locations as is the case in St. Albert, and a suggestion that the Town operate photo enforcement itself rather than using a contractor.
Though input from our Council Coffee provides us with some solid points for consideration, we still want to hear from you moving forward. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your vision for the Photo Enforcement Program.
The Town website (www.morinville.ca) will continue to be updated as new information and resources become available.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe