Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says nearly 11,000 speeding tickets were issued by the photo radar pilot project that began in mid-July.

In his address to city council Wednesday, Watson said that 10,771 tickets were issued between July 13 and July 31.

The City has four cameras – two fixed and two mobile – that rotate through eight community safety zones. Those zones are also home to 11 schools.

Watson pointed out one of those school zones in his statement to council.

"Think about that for a moment, 10,771 speeding tickets issues as a result of individuals being careless and speeding in front of school zones," he said. "The real concern is the highest speed recorded during that period, when a motorist driving at 89 kilometres per hour on Meadowlands near St. Gregory Elementary School."

Some drivers who spoke to CTV News said they were surprised to receive tickets.

“My first reaction was ‘ok come on,’” said one driver who has recently received a speeding ticket as a result of photo radar. “This was a Saturday in August, there’s no school, this is a bit of a cash grab but that being said the speed limit’s 50 and I was going 61, I was over the limit.”

“With photo radar it’s really challenging to ticket the person who’s actually driving no matter what vehicle is actually on the road so i think that’s my biggest issue with it,” said another driver who received a ticket. “Hopefully people just know to slow down and whether it was myself and I just wasn’t paying attention then that’s that.” 

Ottawa Police Sgt. Mark Gatien says the majority of complaints to police revolve around speeding, adding the cameras play a crucial role.

“We can’t be everywhere at once, there’s only so many of us, we’re doing the best we can but you can’t ask for better speed enforcement than to have a camera at a location, especially these cameras that are in school zones,” he said.

While the cameras generate considerable revenue, the city says it’s not a cash grab and that the money is reinvested into road safety.

“The ultimate goal is that we have no collisions and no fatalities and no serious injuries and this is is one of the tools that will help us in that endeavour,” said Phil Landry, the city’s director of traffic services.

Watson also addressed the "cash grab" of photo radar fines in his speech to council.

"Just to remind those who always label this a cash grab, 100 per cent of the funds from these tickets go into community safety programs and initiatives in the city."

Watson's comments come as school resumes across the city.