Kelowna city councillor suggests bringing back photo radar

Gail Given says it could help generate traffic fine revenue for the city—and make roads safer

A Kelowna city councillor has an idea about how to get back some of the traffic fine revenue the city has lost from the province in recent years—bring back photo radar.

Coun. Gail Given made the suggestion Thursday during council’s 2018 budget deliberations.

According to the provisional budget, the city’s share of traffic fine revenue was down $300,000 this year.

“A possible solution could be—should I say it—photo radar,” said Given.

The veteran councillor, who is also the chairwoman of the Regional District of Central Okanagan board, said with more communities now in the provincial traffic fine revenue-sharing program, there is less money to go around. And if photo radar was brought back, it could not only help make local roads safer, but could also generate more money for the city.

The former B.C. Liberal government stopped photo radar in 2001 after it took power from the previous NDP government, which introduced the program. When it was scrapped, photo radar was widely unpopular.

But in recent years, some experts have urged the government to bring it back. So far the B.C.’s new NDP government has said it has no plans to reinstate the use of photo radar.

Earlier this year at the annual meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, West Kelowna put forward a resolution asking the province to allow municipalities to launch their own photo radar systems. Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said the resolution was supported by UBCM members.

He said the city is getting more calls than ever for traffic calming measures in neighbourhoods and he would like to see municipalities given more tools than “just speed bumps and roundabouts” to slow drivers down.

In the 2018 budget, council added money for traffic calming measures in Rutland as one way to help deal with speeders there.

“The amount of requests we are getting for traffic calming in neighbourhoods is real and it’s a huge concern,” said Basran.

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