Lloydminster Meridian Booster — Every city has its needs and wants and it is up to elected officials to balance and prioritize those competing interests.
From an enforcement standpoint, Lloydminster’s current need is for an added police presence on the street which has city council debating whether special constables are the appropriate route to handle manpower issues on the RCMP front. Meanwhile, photo radar falls more under the want category as another avenue of traffic enforcement, although it is gradually becoming a need as Lloydminster’s traffic woes continue to grow alongside the city’s population.
The potential of introducing photo radar along with red light cameras to the Border City has been discussed in length by city officials in recent years and it was on the verge of becoming a reality this past spring before council’s attention and resources were diverted to the lack of uniformed police officers.
Talks left off with city officials in the process of drafting up a contract for Global Traffic Systems out of Edmonton to employ photo radar and red light cameras on the Alberta side, but there was still some confusion as to how photo radar would be applied to the Saskatchewan side as the province has yet to approve its use.
“It’s still a topic of interest and one we will be revisiting once some of the (RCMP’s) manpower issues are addressed,” said Tom Lysyk, senior director of corporate affairs with the City of Lloydminster. “We’re hoping that will be the case by spring, but when you’re worried about your basic stuff getting done you don’t have time to look into the extras.
“If the manpower issue and all other areas are covered adequately then it would probably be OK to direct our attention back to photo radar and try to find a way to justify the service on both sides of the city.”
Photo radar has been utilized in Alberta for more than a decade with statistics showing significant and consistent reductions in traffic speeds throughout the targeted areas, ultimately reducing the number of accidents at intersections. While photo radar has never been tested on the other side of the border, an official with the Saskatchewan Justice Department said the main reason for its absence is the fact there has never been a formal application to implement the service.
“It’s one of those things the government has considered a few times over the years and weighed out the pros and cons, but at this point it’s not necessarily required in our province,” said the official, wishing to remain anonymous. “The main pro is that it has been proven to be an effective means of traffic enforcement, but one of the real cons is that you have the vehicle owner charged not the driver and yet it is actually a driving offence.”
Although there is no set timeline for introducing photo radar to Saskatchewan, the government acknowledges Lloydminster’s unique situation and may permit photo radar use in the Border City if and when city council submits a request.
“There have already been some special arrangements made in consideration of Lloydminster where one province adopts the rules of another, so I guess if the city was keen on setting up photo radar it might be looked at differently than if another centre applied,” said the official, adding the red light camera experiment is proving successful in Regina and Saskatoon. “They’re not necessarily there to catch people running the red lights, but just to get people to slow down in general, in hopes of preventing intersection-related accidents and they seem to be doing the job rather well.”