City council axes photo radar program

Citizens and those who drive through the city will no longer be receiving pesky photo radar tickets.

It was a program that was built in the name of safety, but ended up costing Lacombians over the past two years. Citizens and those who drive through the city will no longer be receiving pesky photo radar tickets.

During their meeting earlier this week, Lacombe City council moved to abolish the Automated Traffic Enforcement Program (ATEP), also known as photo radar.

ATEP was initiated in 2012 by council and began in October of 2013. The program was administered by an independent third party contractor, Independent Traffic Services Ltd.

Twenty-eight locations in the city were approved for enforcement, chosen for high pedestrian volumes, school zones, high collision areas and other locations that are frequent for speeders.

In November 2014 council approved the use of the ATEP for one further year, intending to review it for a second time in 2015. A total of 10,427 tickets were issued from November 2014 to November 2015, noting a drop of 101 tickets from the first year.

Although it was recommended by City administration, the Traffic Safety Committee and the Lacombe Police Commission for the program to continue, council based their decision on different considerations.

Councillor Wayne Armishaw said the program has affected thousands of people.

“We’ve had our time with this and it’s time to move on without the revenue,” he said.

Councillor Bill McQuesten echoed his statement and questioned if the program should proceed just because of the revenue it generates (an estimated $325,000 in the proposed 2016 budget).

“We are not seeing anyone drive slower because of this,” he said.

Councillor Peter Bouwsema, who sits on the Lacombe Police Commission, said he still sees merit in the program if it is adjusted.

Armishaw made the motion recommended by administration for council to approve the renewal of the program. The motion was defeated as three councillors, Councillor Reuben Konnik, Armishaw and McQuesten, were in opposition.

The program will be terminated effective Nov. 30th.

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