Information withheld from photo radar report

Watch above: Edmonton’s photo radar program has raked in millions for city coffers despite complaints about cost overruns and unfair ticketing. Now, as Eric Szeto reports, the city is refusing to release some information.

EDMONTON — A new report on the use of photo radar in Edmonton has left out some key information.

Earlier this year, Councillors Amarjeet Sohi and Dave Loken asked city administration to answer a number of questions related to the enforcement program, including how many tickets were handed out to speeders going less than 10 km/h over the posted limit.

The answer?

“Specific details related to these factors should properly be discussed by Council in private as they may involve matters of legal advice and other information subject to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

READ MORE: Edmonton man’s online petition against photo radar picks up speed

However, not everyone on council believes that information should be withheld.

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“If that information is available, then why not share it? I just don’t see the downside of it,” said Ward 12 councillor Amarjeet Sohi. “We’re not telling people to speed, we’re not suggesting that if you go over a certain speed you won’t get a ticket.”

Mayor Don Iveson says he understands administration’s view that releasing the information may be perceived as a “licence to speed.” However, he says the more information the public knows about the photo radar program, the better.

“I understand why administration is not comfortable disclosing as much information as the public would like, but I suspect that council’s appetite is going to be to disclose more information tomorrow, once we’ve heard their advice, once we’ve heard from our lawyers.

“I would like to be able to release to the public very, very clean information about exactly what the tickets are.”

According to Iveson, of the 422,000 photo radar tickets handed out last year, less than three per cent of the tickets were for drivers caught going between six and 10 km/h over the posted limit.

“I can tell you there are no tickets for going between one and five,” he added. “I have yet to actually see with my own eyes, a ticket that someone’s got for anything between six and nine.”

Iveson says the majority of tickets — nearly 50 per cent — were handed out to drivers going 16 – 20 km/h over the posted speed limit.

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The report also outlines a number of ways in which the revenue from the program go back into traffic safety initiatives.

The report will go before the Transportation Committee on Thursday.


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With files from Eric Szeto, Global News