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No red light cameras coming to Durham

Regional council votes to uphold joint committee's recommendation despite other councillors calling for more information

Red light cameras

Regional council has voted not to pursue a red light camera program at this time.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Durham drivers won’t have to worry about red light cameras any time soon.

Regional council voted to move forward with a recommendation from a joint meeting of the works and finance and administration committees to not implement the program.

A study done on a proposed red light camera system, which would see motorists mailed tickets for running red lights, found that the costs outweighed the benefits, and in some cases made intersections more dangerous as the number of rear end collisions would increase.

As was the case with discussions at the committee level, several councillors voiced their concerns over the report, such as a representative from Durham police not being at the committee meeting and the lack of statistics from other communities that have red light camera systems.

“Since that meeting, I’ve had an opportunity to speak with someone with DRPS…and speaking with this person, they were very clear that they absolutely support unmanned enforcement,” said Councillor Shaun Collier of Ajax. “It’s not about money at all. The cost for this is minimal. We don’t expect to see a return on this. This is about public safety.”

“I would like to get data from other municipalities who have implemented red light cameras because they really are the true test of how effective they have been,” said Councillor Colleen Jordan, also of Ajax. “Certainly when I was at (the Federation of Canadian Municipalities) and I visited their traffic safety office, they put in a number of initiatives, including red light cameras, and they have reduced their collisions over time. It’s been successful.”

Oshawa councillor and joint committee co-chair Bob Chapman, however, says the report from regional staff provided all the information they needed.

“I think staff did a good analysis of it. They might not have given you all these statistics on things from other cities and all that, but they gave us the statistics that are important and that’s the statistics for the Region of Durham,” he said while addressing other councillors in the latest session of regional council. “Everybody in this name probably can name an intersection where there’s lots of accidents. But do you know why those accidents are caused? Putting a red light camera up may not solve that accident.”

Fellow Oshawa councillor John Aker also voiced his support for not moving forward with the program, saying red light cameras are something that residents simply do not want.

“Most of the drivers in Oshawa are considerate drivers. Most of the drivers in Oshawa are good drivers. In speaking to vehicle owners in my community, they don’t want the red light cameras. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “We’ve got to start approaching it not just as a transportation system, it’s our neighbours. And we all make mistakes in driving, but the rest of us are 99.9 per cent of the time right on, trying to obey the traffic, trying to obey the speed limits, trying to come to a full stop at stop lights.”

A motion to defer the recommendation and have staff provide more information on a proposed system was defeated, with John Neal being the lone Oshawa councillor to vote in favour of it.