February 20, 2013 - 4:55 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
Speed readers, photo radars and speed bumps were neck-'n-neck but none won the debate race during Penticton council Monday night.
The three traffic tools were compared on how best to punish speeders roaring past Parkway Elementary School. A 3-3 voting split on how to proceed meant the issue goes back to staff to get options and costs.
This debate got started after a letter from Parkway Elementary was put before the city's Transportation Advisory Committee. The school had raised $3,800 for a speed reader board and requested the city for more funding.
The merits of speed readers were compared by council to that of photo radar devices, speed bumps and increased police presence. How other schools could benefit was also examined.
“I'm incredibly sensitive to this problem,” says Coun. Judy Sentes. She's been a teacher, worked on the school board and is a parent and grandparent. “It horrifies me sometimes to see people roaring through a school zone.”
Sentes was skeptical the province would allow photo radars to return however. They were banned almost 10 years ago over privacy concerns.
“I would prefer to have increased enforcement in the school zone,” says Mayor Dan Ashton. The presence of a uniformed police officer with a patrol car ensures better student safety than a less visible photo radar device.
Coun. John Vassilaki pointed out the extra cost another police officer would bring. Instead he would rather see more speed bumps added to roads near school areas.
One councillor was adamant about using photo radar.
To not use photo radar “shows complete political cowardice” when it means it will protect children in this community says Coun. Wesley Hopkin.
“There are a quite a lot of societies around the world,” who use this he says.
“I'm a very big privacy advocate,” he adds, but not when the laws are broken. “You just can't get away with speeding because no one is looking.”
“Boy, those are fighting words councillor,” Ashton says to Hopkin.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013