Lacombe to keep photo radar plan

Lead-footed Lacombe drivers may want to reconsider their speeding ways.

Lead-footed Lacombe drivers may want to reconsider their speeding ways.

City council opted not to reverse a decision last year to introduce photo radar to the community beginning in April.

Photo radar was back before council on Monday after Coun. Reuben Konnik put forward a notice of motion to reconsider the earlier approval.

Konnik said he’d heard from people in recent weeks who were not supportive of photo radar.

“As an elected representative people came to me and they weren’t happy,” he said, saying it was worth taking another look at the issue.

He also questioned the need for photo radar now that council has hired a full-time community peace officer focused on traffic enforcement after the success of a four-month pilot project last year.

Coun. Peter Bouwsema said three-quarters of the people he spoke to were against photo radar.

Some said it does nothing to address other bad driving behaviour. Others were concerned that since a private company will be contracted to run photo radar, company profits will drive the number of tickets handed out.

Other councillors were told by residents photo radar was a good idea and something had to be done to slow speeders down.

Council voted 3-3 in favour of the motion to reconsider the approval. Councillors Grant Creasey, Konnik and Bouwsema voted in favour. As a notice of motion, it required support from five councillors.

To provide an early opportunity to assess photo radar, council asked administration to give the photo radar only a one-year contract, which will then be reviewed.

Coun. Grant Creasey believes the community’s reaction will be mixed.

“There will be some people who want it no matter what and some who don’t want it for any reason whatsoever.”

Creasey said he doesn’t support bringing it in at this time, particular now that the new traffic enforcement officer has been hired permanently and has proven “overwhelmingly successful”.

“I just don’t think that photo radar at this particular time is going to enhance overall safety in our community.”

A survey of residents last year didn’t put speeding at the top of traffic concerns. There were more concerns about running stops signs, unsafe loads and other offences, he said.

Also, when a speeder is caught by an officer, there is some education that comes along with that interaction

“A photo radar or speed trap is basically viewed pretty much as a revenue generator and not necessarily an education tool.”

Coun. Outi Kite was not at Monday’s meeting.

In other council business:

lA Transportation Master Plan was adopted, which will provide the city with specific thresholds of when roads should be widened and signals installed at intersections. It also looks ahead to identify future traffic needs.

lThe city also passed a nuisance bylaw which boosts fines to keep it in line with other municipalities and to create more of a deterrent. The most common complaints involve roaming cats and noise. Fines for permitting a nuisance will double to $100 for a first offence, and to $200 on second offence. Third or more offences will lead to a $500 fine, up from $200.

Fines for allowing cats to run at large or to damage property will go to $75 on a first offence, up from $50. Second and third offences go up to $100 and $200 from $75 and $100.

lCouncil approved an $82,569 contract with Vancouver-based LEES and Associates Landscape Architects and Planners to complete a master design plan for the Fairview East Cemetery expansion.

lA new Business Licence Bylaw was approved that reduces the number of business classifications from 42 to seven. The fee structure is also simplified.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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