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Waterloo Region may reduce or postpone plan for speed cameras in front of schools

An automated speed enforcement camera on Renforth Drive between Tabard Gate and Lafferty Street in Etobicoke.
An automated speed enforcement camera on Renforth Drive between Tabard Gate and Lafferty Street in Etobicoke. Robbie Ford / Global News

The coronavirus pandemic could dilute or halt Waterloo Region’s plan to install automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras in front of a few dozen area schools.

A report prepared by staff on the issue will go before regional council on July 15 and recommends that the council either postpone the launch of the ASE camera program or cut the number of cameras it had intended to initially launch from 32 to eight.

Read more: Speed cameras could be in front of Waterloo schools by year’s end

The staff report says the decision to drastically cut the program was made in response to the region’s budget struggles with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial capital costs for the 32 cameras would set the region back $1.27 million but that number falls to $360,000 if eight cameras are in place.

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Automated speed enforcement cameras begin ticketing in Toronto
Automated speed enforcement cameras begin ticketing in Toronto

The report also says council should consider postponing the launch because of the “difficult financial situation caused by the COVID pandemic.”

On June 24, a report from the Region said it had “experienced a year to date tax supported operating deficit of $3.8 million to the end of April 30, 2020 and is estimated to have a net 2020 operating shortfall between $13 million and $17 million, due predominantly to COVID-19.”

If council does move forward with the ASE camera plan, it will not come into use until the end of the year at the earliest.

Read more: Cameras across Toronto will start ticketing speeders, fines mailed to car owners

New rules under the Highway Traffic Act, which came into effect in December, allow the use of cameras to catch cars speeding and issue tickets to their owners on local roads with speeds of less than 80 km/h.

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The photos can include the time and date of the picture, a description of the location where the picture was taken, the speed of the vehicle, an indicator to identify the vehicle involved and the posted speed limit on the road where the photo was taken. The vehicle’s licence plate will need to be clearly seen in an enlargement of the picture. Each photo will need to be certified by a provincial offences officer.