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3/1/2017
Voters In Canadian Town Overhelmingly Reject Photo Enforcement
Referendum has three out of four voters in Drayton Valley, Canada calling for elimination of speed and red light cameras.

Michael Doerksen
Voters in Central Alberta town of Drayton Valley, Canada took to the polls Monday to register overwhelming opposition to the continued use of speed cameras and red light cameras. Residents of the oil and gas town, located 83 miles southwest of Edmonton, also selected a new town council member, Michael Doerksen, who pledged on Tuesday to keep his campaign promises, which included pushing for removal of the cameras.

"We need to eliminate photo radar so county residents and tourists want to come to our town to spend money, instead of getting tickets," Doerksen had urged on the eve of the election.

Doerksen cited accident statistics to argue that the photo radar program failed to provide any clear safety benefit. The negative impact, on the other hand, of mailing out $380 tickets for minor violations was apparent, he argued.

"Anyone that thinks photo radar isn't killing tourism in this town needs to take off their rose coloured glasses," Doerksen wrote. "I take my son to can-skate every Saturday morning, and these guys are set up catching people going into the omniplex from both entrances. They are catching families taking their kids out to play hockey, and even worse, most are from out of town. I have seen countless times people from other communities mention Drayton Valley on Facebook and say how mad they are that every parent on their hockey team received a ticket, and how they will never come back to our town."

Residents tended to agree with that sentiment, as 75 percent of voters said they opposed "the continuation of the photo radar (red light/stop sign) enforcement program in the town of Drayton Valley." On the second question, 72 percent opposed "the continuation of the photo radar (speed) enforcement program." The plebiscite is non-binding, but residents took to the town's Facebook page to urge local leaders to act swiftly in shutting down the unpopular program.

"It reminds me of Brexit," Chris Lees wrote. "The town has spoken clearly, the decision was clearly wrong in the first place, now the tide must change."

The town council voluntarily agreed put the non-binding question on the ballot earlier this month.

"Council has heard from residents on the topic of photo enforcement and these ballot questions are an opportunity for town residents to express their opinion on this," Mayor Glenn McLean said in a February 2 statement. "Including the submission of ballot questions as part of the by-election process is cost effective and responsive to residents."

In the United States, voters have overwhelmingly rejected the use of red light cameras and speed cameras in 38 election contests around the country (view list).

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the office Michael Doerksen won. He ran for a seat on the town council.



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