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Penetanguishene eyeing cameras to catch speeders, calm traffic

Mayor calls traffic-control report a ‘grand slam’ while section chair says it’s too hasty; three community safety zones and speed cameras could be implemented this spring under new partnership with Newmarket
Penetanguishene councillor Suzanne Marchand

Could Penetanguishene drivers soon be facing speeding fines all through the snap of a lens?

A trial for traffic calming and automated speed enforcement was tentatively approved for Penetanguishene roads at the recent committee of the whole meeting, including a proposal for community safety zones on some roads and a traffic calming partnership with Newmarket.

Framework for an automated speed enforcement system through the town of Newmarket was also given the go-ahead as committee members voted in favour of entering into a memorandum of understanding, which was expected to be cost-neutral from traffic violation costs funding one camera installation.

Under the plan, Penetang would acquire an automated speed camera from Newmarket. Once installed, a speeding driver's licence-plate number would be recorded and sent to a Newmarket processing centre. From there, a fine for the infraction would be mailed to the home of the licence-plate registrant.

The timeline leading up to the report came from a staff recommendation in fall of 2023 to implement a speed reduction trial, which was requested for deferral by Mayor Doug Rawson until a more in-depth report focusing on trouble areas could be brought back. During the interim, Newmarket representatives offered a partnership to North Simcoe municipal heads in January for their automated speed enforcement program. 

“This is a grand slam,” said Rawson at the recent meeting. “I think it really takes into consideration the concerns we’ve raised, the areas, the public sentiment about public safety, cost,and implementation.”

Within the staff report, suggested road networks for the community safety zones were: Robert Street West (from Owen Street to Lafontaine Road); Fox Street (Church Street to Broad Street); and Church Street (Fox Street to Navy Lane).

While costs to implement the plan weren't discussed, Rawson thanked public works and engineering director Brian Murray for his work on the report.

“It hits everything I was hoping it would do,” said Rawson.

However, transportation and environmental services section chair Coun. Suzanne Marchand had a differing opinion.

“I don’t know that this is a grand slam; I feel that we are going from 0 to 100 in terms of how we’re approaching speeding in the community,” countered Marchand. “The initial report was to look at where the problem areas were, to look at our local enforcement, and to address the ongoing concerns with speed in certain areas within our community.

“I just feel that this is a very aggressive measure,” Marchand added, noting the reliance on Newmarket for the program, potential staff burden and the lack of proactive bylaw enforcement on speeding within Penetanguishene’s own services.

From a question by Coun. George Vadeboncoeur on the expanse of the project, Murray explained that the memorandum of agreement “would outline the duration of the agreement, the number of years, the number of camera installation locations; and that would all be brought forward for a future council consideration.”

According to the Newmarket presentation included within the report, an estimated cost to process a speeding ticket either 11 or 15 kilometres per hour over the speed limit would be just $19 for the southern processing centre; on the other hand, revenue to Penetanguishene for the 11-km ticket would be $36 and $56 for a 15-km ticket. A start date was estimated for spring of this year by Newmarket.

The committee of the whole voted in favour of the staff recommendations to bring forward a memorandum of understanding for automated speed enforcement services with Newmarket, to designate three community safety zones, and to bring forward an amendment to the traffic/parking bylaw. The matter will be returned for ratification at an upcoming council meeting.

The traffic control trial and calming policy report, including automated speed enforcement presentation from Newmarket, can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.


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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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