DCN ARCHIVES

February 15, 2011

Online petition now available to lobby for work-zone cameras in Ontario

Industry and public stakeholders can show their support for proposed legislation that would allow safety cameras in Ontario construction work zones by signing a petition now available online.

“There’s a groundswell of grassroots support so far,” said Karen Renkema, government relations director with the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA).

“We have heard from every end of the province, from community-based groups, industry and even public officials who want to have the choice to use safety cameras. I think there is a real recognition, especially after all the construction of the last few years, just how dangerous it is to work in construction zones on a daily basis.”

ORBA has posted a petition online, to help generate support for enactment of Bill 136, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to safety cameras, which allows for the use of safety cameras to measure speed near schools, community centres and constructions zones on provincial highways and local roads.

David Caplan, MPP for Don Valley East, presented this private-member’s bill in late November, 2010.

ORBA supports the proposed bill, noting that 67 per cent of Ontarians surveyed by Harris/Decima for the association also support the use of such safety cameras near schools, community centres and construction zones.

The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, the Ontario School Bus Association, and the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association have also publicly supported the proposed legislation.

Between 2000 and 2006, 52 people were killed and more than 2,800 were injured in construction work zones on Ontario roadways, according to provincial statistics.

On average, 2,100 collisions occur each year in Ontario roadway construction zones.

Renkema recently spoke to the Road Safety Mississauga Advisory Committee about the legislation since the municipality is supportive of the bill.

“They have done a lot of research and prepared applications for the City of Mississauga to utilize safety cameras for both construction work zones and community safety zones,” she explained. “The reason it did not go forward was because of the expense associated with implementing the system.”

Community groups such as the King Edward Task Force in Ottawa and the Community Traffic Awareness Committee in Thunder Bay have also come forward in support of the bill. Currently, a municipality has to make an individual application to the province to try and implement a safety camera system. If Bill 136 were passed, it would allow municipalities to find cost-sharing mechanisms and empower them on this issue.

“The larger thought among many municipalities is if the government gave them the choice to utilize safety cameras, then it would enable them to share resources and bundle agreements with the safety-camera providers to find costs savings,” Renkema noted

The Mississauga road safety committee will now discuss what specific advice it will give to Mississauga council and encouraged ORBA to speak to more municipal organizations to gather further support.

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