Construction zone radar mess
By Andy Bateman
May 12, 2009 – A CBC report last Friday explained how photo radar will once again be operating in Winnipeg construction zones
May 12, 2009 – Photo radar will once again be operating in Winnipeg construction zones
this weekend, but the province will review all 60,000 photo radar
tickets handed out in construction zones in 2008 through to April 2009,
Manitoba's attorney general announced Friday.
The application of photo
radar in the province’s construction zones has been controversial to say the
least, following the dismissal of nine photo radar tickets earlier this year by
a provincial court judge.
According to provincial
law, the temporary speed limit in construction zones is 60 kilometres per hour.
Although the drivers involved had exceeded 60 km/hr, they were not going faster
than the regular 80 km/h speed limit for that particular roadway. As no workers
were present at the time, judge Sundstrom ruled that there was no safety issue
and the regular speed limit should apply,
The province disagreed and
was set to appeal until it realized it would likely lose on a technicality. A
sign declaring the temporary speed limit must be set up at the start of a
construction zone as well as at the end. A sign had only been placed at the
beginning of the construction zones where the drivers had been photographed.
Around 867 tickets yet to
be paid were cancelled by the government as a result of the technicality. The
fate of the rest of the 60,000 tickets that had been paid is still unclear.
Today, Councillor Gord
Steeves announced that City of Winnipeg
cannot afford to refund up to $10m in fines already paid and feels it is
“inappropriate for one order or level of government to make unilateral
decisions that have huge implications on the bottom line of another level of
government, without consulting with them well in advance of making those
Add a class action lawsuit to
the mess for good measure.
The last word and some
common sense comes from Chris Lorenc, head of the Manitoba Heavy Construction
Association, who said the matter has become too political and the purpose of
the law has washed over. "We regard safety as the No. 1 issue on any work site,
and we think the vacillation and confusion around this debate is very
destructive to promoting an attitude of safety in society," he said.