A political push to bring photo radar back from the dead for school zones and playgrounds has the support of the Kamloops-Thompson School District.
Supt. Terry Sullivan said he believes photo radar does curb speeding and other reckless behaviour behind the wheel, which is why he backs a Penticton mayoral candidate’s bid to put it in use again.
But Kamloops-South Thompson MLA and Transportation Minister Todd Stone reiterated the province’s position on the matter, saying there is no desire to re-introduce the cameras.
Sullivan believes photo radar would deter speeders and reckless driving at schools where it is a problem.
“People here are quite responsible in school zones. They slow down,” Sullivan said Tuesday. “But we’ve run into some issues at some of our high schools at noon. Some of our students are not always behaving.”
In 2011, administrators began placing surveillance cameras on school buses to deter rowdy behaviour. Sullivan said there hasn’t been a single incident since, he said.
“Like zero,” he said.
The B.C. Liberals scrapped photo radar in 2001, and Premier Christy Clark dismissed its re-introduction during the televised leaders’ debate in May’s provincial election.
But Penticton mayoral candidate Garry Litke said photo radar is necessary to keep children safe, particularly in certain school zones in the city.
Litke said there was an incident at a Penticton school where a car ran over the feet of a young school crossing guard, possibly damaging them beyond repair.
He is aware of opponents who see photo radar as a cash grab, but he said it wouldn’t be so if they were restricted only to areas where children are at risk.
The Southern Interior Local Government Association supports the proposal, and the issue will be discussed at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention next month.
If approved, association president Marg Spina, a Kamloops City councillor, said fine revenue from photo radar would be shared on a negotiated basis with municipalities and regional districts to cover downloaded costs from the provincial and federal governments.
“There is only one taxpayer and, at the end of the day, the taxpayer who looks at his local government taxes going up every year doesn’t appreciate how much of that is from other levels of government,” said Spina.
RCMP pensions are an example of this, she said.
While open to hearing all the resolutions presented at next month’s UBCM convention, Stone said there is no appetite on the part of the province to bring back photo radar.
“There is no photo radar anywhere in British Columbia today,” said Stone, adding the province has sole jurisdiction over it.
Red-light cameras are a different matter entirely, he said, which is why municipalities like Kamloops operate them.