Photo radar to go to a vote in Morinville, Alta.

Residents of a bedroom community north of Edmonton will soon decide whether they want photo radar in their town.
Residents of Morinville, Alta., north of Edmonton will vote on whether to keep photo radar and red light cameras as deterrents to speeding. (CBC)

Residents of a bedroom community north of Edmonton will soon decide whether they want photo radar in their town.

In December 900 Morinville residents, who make up 10 per cent of the town's population, signed a petition to eliminate photo radar and red light cameras.

The petition argues that all traffic enforcement should “be done either by a peace officer or RCMP member, thus eliminating the need for photo radar and red light cameras.” 

Council doesn’t want the vote to pass because it has worked for the town.

About 8,000 tickets were issued in 2009, the first year photo radar was used. In 2013, only 3,000 tickets were given.

Photo radar has also provided much needed revenue to help with their community cultural centre and traffic safety initiatives for youth, said Mayor Lisa Holmes.

“This conversation is really about traffic safety and what people expect to have in a community. So if we remove the tool of photo radar from our toolbox, we’ll have to replace it with something else,” she said.

Replacing the equipment with officers to police speeders could end up costing the town more money, she said.

Dave Schaefer, Director of Corporate Operations agrees. Having equipment like this can better help catch those who violate traffic rules, he said.

“A lot of the new technology incorporates photo technology. It’s hard to deny a picture. That’s why you see the police and the peace officers wearing cameras,” he said.   

The referendum will be held on April 14. If the vote passes, the town of Morinville will enact a bylaw and immediately cease the use of photo radar for a period of three years. 

According to Holmes, the vote will cost between $10,000 and $20,000, similar to the amount of money needed to hold an election.