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REPORTING · 30th January 2010
Walter McFarlane
Tony Brady, Chair of the Community Crime Reduction Initiative stepped up to City Council on Monday, January 25th to speak to the Councillors about the public safety cameras which are still not up. He required some clarification on procedure at the City Council.

“As you all know, the cameras are not installed yet. We’re getting frustrated with the further delays and I can see that some of you are sharing the frustration.” said Brady.

He thanked each of the councillors individually for their support and asked them if they still supported the project.

“I resent the fact that you didn’t say anything about the mayor because I’ve supported this the whole time.” Said Mayor Joanne Monaghan. “I just wanted you to know that I was in favour of it the whole time and you know that.”

Brady requested a deadline if the motion to carry out the camera buying process was successful.

Under motions, Councillor Gerd Gottschling made a motion to "That Council instruct administration to complete the tendering process for the video safety cameras as budgeted and that the cameras be installed as planned as soon as weather conditions allow."

Councillor Randy Halyk stated that he has been thinking back throughout the entire process that they have gone through to put up the Safety Cameras and supported the motion. Councillor Rob Goffinet wondered what the final budget for the camera was and what was bid for the project. Goffinet also warned council that they should be considering what they should be spending their money on.

Monaghan reminded him the budget for the cameras was $86,000. Halyk referred to the RCMP who had just given a presentation where they explained if council were to reduce their budget, they would have to cut members. With a reduced police force, the cameras would be a boon. He added that the budget was meant to be spent during the last budget period.

Councillor Richard McLaren wondered why the project had stopped. Monaghan explained that the people had looked at it and bid but the council froze the process. McLaren wondered if they had to go through the program again. Municipal Manager Trafford Hall stated the cameras would be up by summer if approved.

Gottschling pointed out: When council unwittingly canceled the cameras, they moved a motion that expenditures on the books would not be canceled. Council was clear that the cameras were not canceled the first time and he made the motion to un-freeze the cameras. He stated this was to correct the confusion.

Councillor Goffinet added they have stood behind the cameras but they changed that stance on November 2nd. He had voted to freeze the uncommitted money. He added that if the motion was unfrozen, other things could be appealed prior to budget. “Did we know what we were doing on November 2nd, does this camera proposal fall under that definition,” asked Goffinet.

McLaren tried to explain what he was thinking on November 2nd. Municipal Manager Trafford Hall said the safety cameras were considered departmental and this is why they were canceled. He was more concerned about just presenting to Council about how it is crunch time and how they were planning to spend more money anyway.

“All of these expenditures are meritorious. If they weren’t, you would not have approved it at last budget. But things have changed guys. We have not reached our target of 500,000 and you see where you have to go,” said Hall.

He pointed out the cameras will look better while it is on it’s own but Council should weigh it with the other projects during the budget next month. He said it will make no difference whether it is done now or done later, the cameras will go up at the same time.

Gottschling was not going to give up on the cameras. He said the cameras went through the process only to be canceled. He added council is aware of the cutbacks they have to make and pointed out if the police do have to be cut, the cameras would take their place.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff reminded council Eurocan will still pay their taxes for one more year. He felt they should follow through on their commitments. Halyk had mixed feelings on the cameras. He agreed they should follow through on commitments rather than talking about them. The motion was called and carried. Councillor Rob Goffinet was opposed.
Comment by Mike Forward on 10th February 2010
I wasn't a fan of the idea of security cameras being posted around town in the first place. In other areas, the responsibility for security of a building to prevent vandalisation fell to the owners of the building--be they business owners or landlords.

But now, in the face of an economic crisis in Kitimat, Council(with the exception of Councilor Goffinet) has voted to approve this expenditure anyway. Let's just go ahead and spend $86,000 on something that shouldn't really be our responsibility anyway. Good grief, we're talking about cutbacks on essential things like Snow Removal and they vote to allow this to go through?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised...but I am disappointed.