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There's another side to the photo radar debate


  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 06:00 am

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There have been quite a number of articles, letters and comments published concerning the upcoming photo radar vote on April 14 in Morinville, with many statistics and other statements made in support of retaining photo radar. Some of these however are questionable.

Members of Morinville’s town council, administration and the traffic and safety committee have stated that the petition and resulting proposed bylaw are poorly worded, since the term “photo radar” was used instead of “photo laser.”

The challenge to this is to be found with the town’s own signage:

• As of April 1, turning east off Highway 2 onto Cardiff Road, the sign clearly states “photo radar enforced.” Look for yourself!

• If any of the above-mentioned parties were aware of this, why is the wording of either the petition or the proposed bylaw even an issue?

• Perhaps the provincial solicitor general’s department, responsible for conducting the audits of Morinville’s photo radar program, would be interested in the signage inconsistencies.

As well, international studies from countries such as Australia and the United States have been used in support of the photo radar argument. Unfortunately, like any set of statistics or data comparisons, the risk of likening apples to oranges does exist. Do any of these studies actually relate to Morinville’s present photo radar situation?

The town’s director of corporate operations (who has apparently been overseeing photo enforcement programs in Devon and Morinville for about 11 years) has stated, “Speeding in Morinville in itself is not an issue.” (From the St. Albert Gazette article posted March 26.)

• Data from the town’s March 26 open house revealed that photo radar is active for about 35 to 40 hours per week. This is a normal work week for one average worker, yet the town argues for a requirement to hire three (or more) community peace officers and purchase another vehicle to replace photo radar if it were abolished!

While there are other options available, such as entering into a contract or memorandum of understanding with Sturgeon County, it would appear that neither council nor administration have taken the time to examine any other possibilities.

• Other information given at the open house indicated that some 5,000,000 vehicles have been checked and about 28,000 photo radar tickets issued since the program began. This works out to 0.54 per cent. Do these numbers truly constitute a speeding problem in Morinville?

In closing, it has been written, “In a free democratic society, should we not have a say in how we are to be policed, and how we feel our police should protect us?”

It is up to you Morinville to exercise your voting privilege so, on April 14, get out and vote “yes” to eliminate photo radar in Morinville.

James O’Brien, Morinville


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