Automated Traffic Enforcement almost defeated in Morinville

by Colin Smith

Morinville will be sticking with its current photo radar program following a close vote by Town Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Councillors voted four to three in favour of a motion by Mayor Barry Turner to continue with the present Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), as it is officially known.

Voting for the motion were Mayor Turner and Councillors Sarah Hall, Nicole Boutestein and Lawrence Giffin. Deputy Mayor Scott Richardson and Councillors Stephen Dafoe and Rebecca Balanko were opposed.

The motion was the first of three brought forward from the December 10 Council meeting. The other two concerned the investigation of possible regional cooperation in traffic enforcement services, automated and otherwise.

Shortly before that meeting, the provincial government announced a freeze on the further development of ATE, pending the results of a study being undertaken.

In bringing the matter to Council, Turner said the provincial study will take two years to complete, and Morinville’s contract with its ATE provider comes up for renewal at the beginning of April.

Councillor Hall spoke first in favour of the motion.

“Considering our hands are tied by the province when it comes to creating safe streets for our children, elderly and anyone walking around the town, I think that this is the bare minimum that we need to have,” she said.

Also speaking in support of the motion, Councillor Boutestein said, “I think it’s the only option right now.”

Mayor Turner pointed to increased safety as a result of ATE use—average traffic speed measured in 2009 when the program began was 69 km/hr, which has dropped to an average 43 km/hr—along with its economic benefits to Morinville.

ATE revenue goes into the Town’s Safety Reserve, to be used for projects that enhance traffic safety.

“We have an excellent program,” he said. “I think it’s an example that could serve many other communities well.

“We’ve seen results. We want to maintain those results going forward.”

Councillor Stephen Dafoe declared his opposition to the motion on a point of principle.

“I feel that our peace officers are doing an excellent job in the school zones and that is and always has been my number one concern,” he said. “When I look at the quarterly stats and see that ATE is continually at one school zone only I cannot support this motion.”

Councillor Balanko also questioned the positioning of ATE units, stating that she sees them mainly on the way out of town.

“I’m concerned overall that it’s become a cash cow,” she said.

Balanko also puts her faith in the “boots on the ground” of peace officers.

Similar concerns about placement were shared by Councillor Richardson.

“I don’t feel the spots that are being monitored are in the best interests of public safety,” said Richardson.

Following the vote on the first motion, Turner withdrew the other two.

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23 Comments

  1. If they’re staying we need to make places of high risk being the focus not people leaving town. Anything other than busy pedestrian areas and schools is merely a cash grab.

    • Gerald Wayne Skowronski when a mandate of making things “safer” it’s a fair ask that they be used as intended. Keeping on target here is the point.

    • Gerald Wayne Skowronski exactly. If ppl followed the speed limits – there’d be NO bitching. Would they rather have cops sitting there doing the photo radar and be issued a ticket on site -then there would be a LOT of bitching about insurance rates. SOME ppl just need a bitching post!!

    • If its really about safety they wouldn’t be hiding in an unmarked vehicle on the way out of town monitoring a speed transition zone.

    • Gerald Wayne Skowronski while I can see your point of driving the speed limit the photo radar is not set up in areas where it would increase safety… it’s only set up in areas that are set up with ridicules speed limits like the 50kmh on the Cardiff road, not even the cops do 50 there… no play zone no school, not even a sidewalk…. why is that road 50 and constantly trapped with photo radar??? The industrial area… why do we have photo rada there?

  2. I’m all for safety. These vehicles should be clearly marked. Put in visible locations to slow traffic down. When you hide to make money on your citizens then call it safety 🧐. I’ve asked people to play out this scenario.

    Police car parked at school. No one speeds, everyone is paying that much more attention.

    Hidden speed camera car parked there to make money “hidden is not safety it’s for revenue purposes”. Citizen not paying attention goes by too fast and hits a pedestrian. This could have been stoped by slower speeds but we put the need to make revenue ahead of safety. In a school zone revenue is higher so we place speed cameras there more than officers. This would imply that revenue in schools zones is more important than safety of our children and that’s what I have a problem with.

  3. Threads about photo radar always crack me up. Lol The only ones that complain are the ones that get the tickets. Why should it offend you where they place them? If your doing the posted speed limit there’s nothing for you to worry about 😊
    If you get fined pay your ticket as you were breaking the law and carry on.
    And, it is helping with safety because hopefully after you find yourself with a ticket or two you will do what any smart individual would do, slow down.
    Oh and that also means they are not getting your money. Win win!

    I see them in school zones all the time. And ‘hidden’ is the best way to do it. How many people slow down just for the camera then speed up again. Lots!

    • People are missing the point . It is about where they set up not the ticket. If it is for safety then set up where saftey is need most which is School zones and construction areas, not cardiff road or by hughes ect.

  4. If we want ppl to slow down at intersections or school zones what about rumble bumps or speed bumps. The 100 st/ave intersection light changes so quickly that no one should be able to speed through it anyways. It’s the fastest light I’ve ever experienced. I’m lucky on my street, coming in has a big dip and the other end has many dips so it’s like having speed bumps.

    • For the purpose of this article, it is not our job to back up the mayor’s statements about how much has been spent on safety. Our role is to record the debate for and against and tell readers what the final decision was.

      That said, this publication has covered allocations from the Safety Initiative Fund when made available or decided in meetings.

      We’ve done so back to 2016 when amendments were made to the photo radar policy requiring that all funds now had to be spent for traffic, pedestrian or public safety.

      Prior to that revenues went into general revenues.

      Top of mind from what we’ve covered over the past four years, this fund has paid for:

      The street lights from Highway 2 to South Glens, the solar trail lights from the Fish and Game pond to the rec centre (3 phases), Bike path by UFA, DARE program.

      We’d have to go back and confirm if the crossing light on 100 Avenue and 107 Street came from this fund.

      Below is the article from 2016 where the revenue allocations were changed.

      https://morinvillenews.com/2016/09/01/new-photo-enforcement-policy-passes-requires-money-go-directly-to-traffic-safety-and-community-programs/

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