West Kelowna council endorses photo radar

Members of West Kelowna council say they like the possibility of adding photo radar around town.

At this week's meeting, multiple councillors say RCMP enforcement hasn't changed the habits of chronic speeders, and that the cameras are the next step.

Councillor Duane Ophus says photo radar gives them the best return on their investment.

"Because we can't afford to hire enough police to properly police our community. So even if we put resources into another one or two full-time traffic police, this problem will be mitigated, but it's not going to be solved. So we need to take a radical step," he said.

Ophus says that he used to hate and detest photo radar, but that he's now come to realize the error of his ways.

The city has spent about $600,000 on measures like speed bumps and roundabouts over the last few years.

But the staff report says unfortunately, most measures aren't really working.

Councillor Rick de Jong says he sees only one way to get the attention of irresponsible drivers.

"To me, the underlying issue here with traffic calming, is that we have people with lead feet. And the more I look at this, I'm not a big fan of traffic calming anymore. Because I'm somewhat convinced that on the whole, it doesn't work," he said.

"What does work, is issuing tickets. Hitting people in the pocketbook."

Council will need to go through the new provincial government to get approval, and plans to do so in the fall.

Mayor Doug Findlater says they might have to wait awhile.

"Good luck getting photo radar during a minority government, which is what we're going to have for the next couple of years, probably anway, whatever the stripe is. But it's not very popular, especially for the people who get that little envelope in the mail. And I don't think we're going to get very far."

CAO Jim Zaffino pointed out that if photo radar is adopted, the city could also install more radar boxes than it has cameras.

That way cameras could be rotated through, and keep drivers unsure of which box is operating on any given day.