April 7th, 2016
The idea for Red Light Cameras has been around for almost 50 years, going back at least to 1969 in Israel. It was brought a few years ago to Kingston City Council by Councillor Hector. It was dealt with at length by the 2010-2014 City Council, and passed forward to the present 2014-2018 Council. Staff is now asking for final approval before entering into agreements with two external parties. In contrast to the current practice, where Kingston Police issue tickets to offenders, this program would not be administered by local police, but by a private vendor called Traffipax and processed through the City of Toronto. Kingston would be by far the smallest Ontario municipality to enter into this current agreement.
There is a large up-front cost to taxpayers: around $520,000 per year for ten cameras (the minimum allowed). This cost would be recuperated by a set fine of $325 per ticket, which would arrive to the car owner in the mail and would not affect the demerit point system as it is not a fine to the driver, but to the car owner. It is estimated that the program would eventually turn a profit.
Debate on the matter on April 5th was very interesting, and apparent support for and against was roughly equal. We did not vote on the matter, as my proposal to delay the decision and first hear directly from Kingston Police passed by a vote of 10-3.
Here are the two local articles written about the Red Light Cameras debate at City Council on April 5th, 2016. Have a read, they are both well written:
KingstonRegion.com by Bill Hutchins
Kingston Whig-Standard by Paul Schliesmann
And here is my letter to the editor on the subject:
The matter will return, hopefully informed by a new briefing by Kingston Police, and another debate before we vote on the matter on April 19th, 2016.