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City council to debate renewing photo radar contract

The future of photo radar in Grande Prairie is up in the air. City councillors will be debating renewing the current Automated Traffic Enforcement contract at an upcoming meeting.

After a lengthy discussion at a recent Council & Committee of the Whole Meeting, members of council are requesting to get more information before entering into another agreement with Global Traffic Group Ltd, likely for a three-year term.

Director of Enforcement Services Chris Manuel says one of the bigger issues stemming from the argument is what he acknowledges is a lack of transparency surrounding the vehicles involved, which is something they are looking to provide.

“More deployment of overt enforcement vehicles, probably similar in line to what the City of Edmonton has done where some of their vehicles are painted florescent yellow just to be a marked, visible reminder,” he explains.

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Manuel says more than 30,000 photo radar tickets were handed out in 2019. He argues the current system allows the city to keep enforcement services working in other areas, while also keeping an eye on those with a lead foot.

“One thing automated traffic enforcement can do is provide a tool in places that require greater frequency enforcement of particular offences, or operating where police officers are unsafe, like really busy arterial intersections for example,”

Recently, the number of photo radar operators in the city was cut in half due to the stark drop in drivers since COVID-19 measures began. In addition to temporarily laying off three operators, the remaining crew of four have also seen their hours slashed from 40 to 20 a week.

The discussion is expected to come back in front of council chambers on May 19th.

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