In the days leading up to the municipal election on October 16, we will be publishing the answers to questions posed by 2day FM to the candidates running in the City of Grande Prairie. The responses are listed in alphabetical order by position and are unedited. They have not been fact checked and 2day FM is not responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

Q: What is your stance on photo radar?

MAYOR

Dick Baillie

A: My stance on photo radar is always the same. There needs to be amendments made to contracts and by-laws to focus photo radar on areas of higher safety needs; like school, playground and construction zones. People should not be afraid their government is trying to profit under the guise of safety. Providing focused photo radar in high need
areas will promote further consideration of drivers in these areas. It should also allow for less police officers spending countless hours in our school zones every September and allow them to focus on the more pressing needs of the city.

Bill Given

A: We need to review the automated traffic enforcement program to ensure it’s meeting our desired safety outcomes. Should we find that it’s not then I’m open to tweaking the program as necessary to make sure it does. Having said that, I believe in using all available education, engineering and enforcement tools that can help us make sure GPs roads are safe.

Theodore Nikiforuk

A: I perveive photo radar as a revenue creating instrument.

It has list its focus on making our roads safer.

Rony Pajput

Withdrawn.

COUNCILLORS

Clyde Blackburn

A: Photo radar is certainly a contentious issue. I do object to some of the tactics being used to ‘catch’ speeders in ways that make the practice look like a ‘cash cow.’ I will be diligent in reviewing statistics and looking for evidence that the program is having the results council intended. My expectation is that it reduces incidents and injuries and that, over time, speeding will become less prevalent.

Dylan Bressey

A: Any program that causes this kind of anger and distrust needs a major overhaul. The City is also failing to do enough to slow people down through Education and Engineering. See ten significant changes I want to make at www.voteBressey.ca/photoradar

Jackie Clayton

A: The photo radar conversation is not as simple as ‘YES’ or ‘NO’. Do I like to receive the nasty little envelope in the mail (and trust me, I have received a couple) to discover I have a hefty bill, when I was only going slightly over the speed limit, NO! Even though inside I know I was breaking the law, it is really maddening. However I also think it’s not fair for the massive costs of hiring more RCMP, which was $2.9 million dollars this term, to in turn reduce crime, to be passed on to the citizens of Grande Prairie.

However, I fully support the fact that vehicle collisions have been reduced by more than 60% since Council approved the Safe City Roads Action Plan. And as a strong supporter of making our communities safer for families, I like to see the revenue used from these tickets being directly applied to Community Safety and Crime Reduction.

When it comes to the Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) locations, I don’t agree with locations that appear like they are simply preying on drivers and I do believe we need to have extra ATE’s in every school zone, near playgrounds, daycares and seniors residences.

Ultimately I think it is of vital importance that Council works with Administration to improve the customer service experience and identifies ways to streamline the system including educating drivers, and we absolutely need to advocate the provincial government to ensure more money stays local, but we can’t rely in this revenue. If it is effective in creating a safer Community and safer drivers the revenue source will dry up.

John Croken

A: Photo radar has its use say in School zones but I believe in getting the speeder a talking to by the arresting officer does more good than a ticket in the mail a week later.Biggest success getting the outdoor pool on its feet .

Shannon Dunfield

A: I feel there is a time and place for everything. I believe there are certain sectors of our city that require extra monitoring (school and playground zones) to ensure the safety of our community. It is never a bad thing to evaluate what is working and what is not to support our community and their concerns.

Sydney Fletcher

A: Photo Radar is not a problem for me for one simple reason: I believe in action and consequence: “If you choose to speed, you should pay!” I have often told people: It’s a speed “limit” NOT a speed “suggestion”. If YOU DON’T WANT A TICKET…….DON’T SPEED!! Pretty simple! Statistics have proven that SPEED KILLS! I am in favor of anything that helps reduce speeding and ultimately saves lives.

Eunice Friesen

A: One of my three key values is having a safe community. There’s no question we’ve had some challenging years with high crime and high collision rates. However, these rates have been trending down since reaching alarming levels through increased RCMP staffing and robust prevention programs. I’d like to see the trend continue.

A balanced approach that achieves the goal of a safer city is ideal, and we’ve somehow missed the mark in photo radar use. When the contract is up and if the will is to continue using photo radar, I will stand firm in the primary goal of safety, not revenue, as the goal of its use. The City needs more control over locations (keep to high risk and high collision areas) where safety is a legitimate concern. If reasonable, we should consider outsourcing fewer aspects of the program so that we can retain as much control as possible to meet that end. For example, focusing on locations that are a legitimate safety risk like high collision intersections and high risk areas such as school zones.

The bottom line on the revenue side of photo radar is that the income from it has allowed the city to respond to the alarming crime rate by increasing staff and program resources. Without this income, tax payers would have to bear the brunt of the cost unless another source can be found. Therefore, I’m not prepared to dismiss photo radar completely at this point in time, but I’d like to see improvements in the current program.

John Kriska

A: I believe that photo radar should be restricted to school zones and playground areas. Photo radar needs to be re-evaluated and reviewed.

Kevin McLean

A: Almost 60% of tickets are in school zones and playgrounds. That is not acceptable. I do however, feel that we need to increase signage so people are aware of the zone they are about to enter and self correct. I would like to see lit solar signs with speed indicators on them.

Yad Minhas

A: It’s a great way to control speeds within the city, allows our police force to focus on more serious crimes. As we all know you only get a ticket if you are breaking the law.

Cheryl Montgomery

A: As a citizen I am not a fan. I find sometimes the cameras are set up in locations that are opportunistic and unproductive to solve traffic issues. But ultimately, it is my decision to follow the speed limit or not. If I choose not to, I may pay the price. That is 100% my choice. It shouldn’t matter if no one else was around or it was downhill or any other excuse. It is still up to me to follow the law. If we were to get rid of it, as a Councillor, I would have to ask the hard questions about what service are you prepared to give up to compensate for the loss of 2.1 million in revenue to the City or are you prepared to have your taxes increased to make up for the loss of revenue? I do think we can improve on the current radar system by being more effective in our radar locations and target high risk areas such as schools zone, parks, busy intersections where either children or congestion plays a role and create some added benefit.

Timothy Nesbitt

A: The RCMP is just one of many resources our government has in its toolbox to protect our city and its residents. Another is photo radar. While I do support the use of photo radar, the City will need to consider adjusting to ensure the public has fewer concerns and issues with it– Communication being front and center. Grande Prairie needs to be more open and transparent… Especially with photo radar. If the City was more forthcoming with where the money was going, what the processes were in giving a ticket and the level of accountability in place when it comes to dealing with an outside company, people would be less likely to get upset. Unfortunately, the City instead ignores any questions and citizens are left to use their imagination to fill in the gap. We have 2 years before we re-evaluate the current contract for photo radar, in the time between now and then we should be looking at ways we can improve our current situation and bring positive change to the issue rather than complaints.

Kevin O’Toole

A: I feel it is proven as a great tool to reduce speeding, should we make some changes? Yes we should always monitor and give direction as we see the need to make improvements.

I do support this program it is not a money grab if you are following the speed limit you will not get a ticket for speeding weather the ticket is given to you by city enforcement, RCMP, or the sheriff’s department and most will feel bad for speeding. But when a photo Radar ticket comes in everyone feels it’s a cash grab, you are still speeding and you will not be getting Demerits.

Any money we receive goes back to paying for those extra resources of the RCMP yes I have contributed four times this year already, it’s called a volunteer tax for police. And it keeps our officers on the streets doing their jobs and getting ready for court cases.

Wade Pilat

A: There appears to be a lack of communication and education about our enforcement services and what they do for our community and because of this unfortunately there is a growing frustration by residents of Grande Prairie. Automated Traffic Enforcement is an aspect of enforcement services that I believe must have a comprehensive review to accurately show the effectiveness of it through a very transparent approach to our residents. In the event that this service is chosen to continue, it is necessary to renegotiate what a valuable ATE contract should be to best suit the City of Grande Prairie and its residents without being an income necessity.

Tyla Savard

A: Photo ticketing can be of assistance in the manner of stating the infraction so it can be corrected, each driver is in complete control of their behaviour behind the wheel which determines receiving violations or not. Its great that a portion of the revenue from these infractions goes to support Victim Services, our judicial system, assists with additional officers coming to our community and goes into general funds to support social programming. Unfortunately, the guidelines that have been set out leave areas of interpretation wide open instead of keeping the focus on specific areas of safety such as school zones. This initiative is to raise awareness of behaviours, correct bad practices and to overall create safer roads. Part of that practice should be to bring attention to high risk areas such as school and playground zones with enhanced signage and to the monitoring tools such as the truck and camera unit or a roadside speed display sign. Clearly what we are currently doing isn’t working as good as it could or may have at one time. Stats show it takes an average of 5 times to receive your drivers license, I think ongoing education needs to maintain your license needs to be considered. The province is in process of doing a review of photo radar and each communities experience from having it, I look forward to seeing that report, its unknown at this time as to when it will be published.

Morgan Suurd

A: Get rid of it !!!

Chris Thiessen

A: People drive too fast in this town and road safety has always been a concern of mine. In an effort to curb our city’s high-collision stats, change driver habits, and offset the cost of an influx of new and unplanned for RCMP members mid-budget, this system was implemented by Council. Since then, we have seen a reduction in the number of traffic collisions in the city and an influx of complaints regarding the system. I can admit that the program hasn’t always performed as the most righteous solution to road issues, nor is it perfect, but it is hard to argue with the recorded collision data whether you see a direct correlation between the two or not. Saying all that, I am open for all ideas, innovations and suggestions (ie. digital speed displays, faster speed limits on specific roads that are justified, slower residential speeds, larger signs in school zones, 3D imaging or coloured crosswalks, etc.). My hope, is that traffic collisions and infractions will continue to decrease to such a minimum, that it will no longer justify the system.

Cam White

A: The people of Grande Prairie have definitely made this an election issue and for understandable reasons, no one likes a ticket. But cities like Edmonton say that speed is going down from use of photo radar so what should we do?

That is a conversation that needs to take place in city council as well as in the community. Digital speed signs reduce speed as well but don’t give tickets so maybe thats a solid option? We could only have radar in school zones and construction zones where safety is a major concern? It is worth discussing our options as a community.

If we didn’t speed this wouldn’t be an issue, but we do speed and so it is.

Mike Wolfel

No response submitted.