A Penticton city councillor who missed this week's council meeting will reintroduce a motion aimed at setting up photo radar in school zones.
Garry Litke, who was on vacation when council met Monday, believes council misunderstood the intent of the motion that was defeated on a 3-3 tie. He will reopen the debate when council meets on March 4. In accordance with Penticton city council bylaws, an absent councillor may reintroduce a motion in the case of a tie vote.
The motion was for the city to suggest at the Southern Interior Local Government Association convention that photo radar be reintroduced in school zones. That conference will be held in late April in Salmon Arm. If approved at that level, the motion would then be taken to the Union of B.C. Municipalities for further discussion.
"It's not often you have the chance to improve the safety of your streets and at no cost to the taxpayer," Litke said in an interview Saturday. "We're not saying bring photo radar back for the entire province. We're saying bring it back for school zones, and only during school hours."
The issue has received significant attention at Parkway Elementary School in Penticton, where handmade school-zone mannequins placed on the road have been destroyed by speeding motorists. Litke also points to an incident on the last day of school there in 2011 when a 12-year-old crossing guard's feet were run over by a motorist. The young girl was a dancer and has not danced since.
"You shake your head and ask how can something like that happen?" he said. "It's only a matter of time before a child will get killed. After that incident, RCMP stepped up enforcement and it worked for a while, but they don't have the manpower for every school during every hour of the school day."
Okanagan Skaha School District vice-chairman Bruce Johnson, the board's liaison with the City of Penticton, is strongly in support of speed-reader boards but says the idea of photo radar has never been discussed.
"Photo radar is certainly worth looking into," said Johnson. "Anything that keeps the kids safe and gets them to school and home again safely is worth discussing."
Litke, a retired high school teacher whose wife is a primary teacher at Queen's Park Elementary School, believes reader boards and mannequins are not effective.
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