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Video surveillance policy under scrutiny in West Kelowna

The District of West Kelowna is updating its video surveillance camera policy.
March 23, 2015 - 2:29 PM

WEST KELOWNA - The district is updating its video surveillance policy to ensure compliance with the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“With video surveillance cameras, obviously there are concerns with privacy,” says Erin Goodwin, facilities manager for West Kelowna. “There are standards that we have to follow.”

The district does not operate any public street cameras like Kelowna but Goodwin says there are still an estimated 22 cameras operating in four facilities; Jim Lind Arena, Royal LePage Place, Johnson-Bently Aquatic Centre and the district’s water treatment plant.

“The cameras at the water treatment plant have more to do with it being in an isolated area,” Goodwin added.

The updated policy will dictate how the cameras may be used and where they can be placed (any public facility), how the footage obtained from them is stored (electronically and written over by new footage on a regular basis) and who can access it (just a handful of district employees and the RCMP).

It places responsibility for the surveillance program under the district’s chief administrative officer and lays out how new cameras are introduced, including a requirement for council approval.

Goodwin said the district is not currently considering public street cameras and would only consider them if other efforts, such as more signage, extra lighting or increased security patrols, have not worked..

“If we start seeing some vandalism or theft in certain areas we are trying to deter, then it could happen,” he said. “Council would receive a report. That’s why we are updating the policy so if we do have some issues, we can deal with them.”

Goodwin said the district has turned over clips from the existing cameras at the request of the RCMP, although the district’s involvement ends there. “There has been some theft and vandalism cases, but I don’t know if charges were ever laid,” he said.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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