March 06, 2013 - 4:47 PM
PHOTO RADAR TO BE PUT ON PROVINCE'S RADAR
By Shannon Quesnel
Parkway Elementary School will get its speed reader board thanks to Penticton city council reversing one of its decisions.
This Monday, city council agreed to help the school and its parent advisory committee (PAC) with the cost of a new speed reader board. This is the opposite of what happened at the Feb. 18 council meeting where the same motion was defeated in a tie vote. At that meeting council told city staff to find more options.
Coun. Garry Litke was not at the Feb. 18 meeting and requested council reopen the debate. Council said yes with the exception of Mayor Dan Ashton.
Litke said he was concerned the speed reader request might get lost in a council debate. On Feb. 18 council argued the pros and cons of not only speed readers but also speed bumps, parked police cars and the controversies around photo radar devices.
“I'm not sure the issues were separated enough so clear direction could be taken,” Litke said.
Litke sits on the city's transportation committee. Parkway Elementary and its PAC told the transportation committee the school needs a speed reader board.
Litke said the school has a speeder problem. A Parkway Elementary crossing guard had her feet run over by a passing motorist. Some of the mannequins, pylons and cardboard stands put up to slow down traffic have been run over.
“There have been many attempts to try and slow the traffic,” Litke said. “Strange as it may sound some of those little paper cutouts of children, crossing the street, get run over by vehicles.”
Council voted unanimously to help the school pay for a new $8,000 speed reader board. The school and its PAC have raised $3,800 for the board through fundraising events. Ashton asked how much money School District 67 was throwing in. None was Litke's response.
Litke said the school board told Parkway Elementary money is tight and there is not enough for every project.
“It would be a lot easier to swallow if the school board would come forward,” Ashton said. “Money is tight everywhere and it's just as tight at the City of Penticton as it is at the school board.”
The speed reader was not the only thing on the transportation committee's radar. Litke wanted council support to get the photo radar conversation running again. Council voted 4-3 in favour of asking the Southern Interior Local Government Association to lobby the province to put photo radar back on the discussion table.
Litke said speed readers are not enough. People are still needed to write down the license plates of speeding cars.
“If they are not accompanied by volunteers with jackets and clipboards, motorists soon learn that those flashing numbers on the radar board,” will not lead to a ticket Litke said.
“Unless the speeders believe there is going to be a consequence they won't change their behaviour.”
Ashton disagreed. He voted against the lobbying request. He said nothing beats a parked police car and called a photo radar a “cash grab” at any level of government. Coun. Judy Sentes and Coun. Helena Konanz also voted against the lobbying request.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013