Speed photo radar potentially on the table locally

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Regular Council meeting update

The regularly scheduled Council meeting on April 11 opened with a closed session, followed by a thorough presentation regarding the South Nation Conservation Authority provided by Bill Smirle. Another delegation, this one from MP Eric Duncan, former Mayor of North Dundas, presented a funding request for a project to restore the mural on the side of the Gathering House building in Chesterville. 

One source of funding for the mural would be funding from the Mike Dean Memorial Fund, which is managed by the Township. The late Mike Dean was the founder of his namesake grocery store chain with its flagship store in Chesterville. An additional request for $4,000 from the Community Improvement Plan was made of the Township. Council was generally very positive about the idea of restoring the mural, though Councillor Matthew Uhrig suggested that in the future, Council should consider a universal plan for deciding on such requests, and Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron wanted to be sure that the group seeking the funding approached community groups as well, given this year’s tight municipal budget.  

Some internal policies that apply to Township staff were discussed next. This included the Delegated Authority Bylaw to specify which decisions Township staff are free to make without seeking specific permission from Council each time. Councillor John Lennox commented that it is important for Council to be kept “in the know”, and Councillor Uhrig agreed. Mayor Tony Fraser also spoke up in agreement, saying that Council needs to be routinely updated on the decisions that are made under the Delegated Authority Bylaw. He suggested a trial period, where Council sees how things work in the short term to decide if adjustments need to be made. The Delegated Authority Bylaw was passed after Council accepted the Mayor’s suggestion. 

Next, Council passed a motion that will create a more formal process for residents to request speed limit reductions in the Township. It was noted that residents often make informal requests for speed limit changes in specific areas, and this policy will establish an official form that can be filled out and a process for the request. Council then moved on to approve the 2024 municipal water and sewer budget after some discussion. 

Other business discussed included the Township’s fire prevention policy, a zoning amendment request, and an update on the 2024 Regional Incentive Program applications.

Speed photo radar potentially on the table 

At the end of the 2.5 hour Council meeting, Councillor Lennox gave a very brief preliminary introduction to a proposed motion that would ratify Council’s support of an Automated Speed Enforcement (speed photo radar) system on County roads within North Dundas. Provincial law allows such technology to be used in school zones and community safety zones where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h. Speed photo radar would be expected to generate 6 fines per day on average, which would cover the cost of running the system, and studies have shown that the technology is successful in increasing speed limit compliance. 

In an email sent to his fellow Council members on April 10, Councillor Lennox explains: “The OPP have conducted several micro blitzes to deter speeding and to prevent anything serious from happening. I do thank Staff Sgt Alicia Burtch and her constables for their attention to this matter, however, like everyone else, they have limited resources and are required elsewhere.” The Councillor also referred to a resident who observed 16 incidents of vehicles driving past a school bus with lights flashing at his residence this year alone. Councillor Lennox met with this resident, and to his shock, observed such an incident himself. 

Referring to speed photo radar, Councillor Lennox wrote in his email to his colleagues: “For whatever the reason, County Council decided against passing this policy. I will be asking Council for a resolution to urge County Council to revisit this policy and I hope to have your support… these cameras do work as I have been caught doing 60 in a 50 within Ottawa on my way to work. Now, I am well aware of my speed and can speak towards the effectiveness of deterrence these devices have.”

While the issue was not discussed by Council on April 11, it is expected to be on the table again for the next meeting. 

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