‘Maybe two years’ before photo-radar set up in Ottawa

When photo-radar returns to Ontario, you won’t see the devices popping up in Ottawa right away.

River Ward councillor Riley Brockington and five other city councillors made the trip to Queen’s Park Monday to discuss the topic.

Councillors Jeff Leiper, Catherine McKenney, Keith Egli, Matthieu Fleury and Tobi Nussbaum were also there.

The Liberals’ Bill 65, the Safer School Zones Act is currently before the standing committee for consideration, after passing second reading two weeks ago.

The bill would give municipalities the power to install photo radar cameras (or other “automated speed enforcement systems” as they’re defined in the bill) in school zones and other “community safety zones.”

Those safety zones are up to municipalities to define, which Brockington says makes the legislation less restrictive than he previously thought.

“Cities do have a little more discretion than I thought we had,” he told CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Evan Solomon. “We can define a safety zone, I believe, as we want. So whether it’s a construction zone or zones in front of seniors’ homes or day cares, that’s something that maybe the transportation committee will be discussing further.”

Brockington says there are a lot of hoops to jump through, even after legislation is passed, before photo-radar devices can be installed, which means it will be some time before you start to see them in Ottawa.

“Similar to red light cameras, this will be phased in over many years,” he said. “Technology is expensive; you have to prioritize where the worst spots are; we have to determine at council how much we want to allot in our budget for this technology; you probably have regulations; the city will have to do research on what technology’s out there. Certainly, it’s not going to be rolled out right away. We’ll need at least maybe two years before this hits Ottawa streets.”

Each photo-radar camera costs roughly $100,000, and Brockington says, for his part, he wants extensive consultation with his ward about the issue. He also wants photo-radar zones to be clearly designated to drivers, similar to intersections with red light cameras.

“I also think there should at least be an annual report about where they are located and the revenues that are brought in,” he said.

The City previously passed a resolution to ask the Province for photo-radar, with the intention that revenues generated from tickets only go back into road safety initiatives.