The province could haul in millions more in fine revenue after upgrading its red light cameras at risky intersections around B.C.
But whether the cities get a cut of any of the new action will depend on talks between the senior government and its municipal, junior partners.
Currently, Maple Ridge makes about $850,000 a year from provincial traffic fine revenue. That’s basically most of the money that’s collected within the city from traffic tickets.
But traffic fine revenue is set to jump when intersection cameras are upgraded this year so that they can now issue fines for speeding, as well as running red lights.
Currently, there are five intersections in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows that have red light cameras and at least one them might be a candidate for speed enforcement. Crash and speed data will determine which cameras will be upgraded for speed enforcement. Signs will warn approaching drivers once the cameras are updated.
Currently, the province collects the fines and redistributes net fine revenue of between $50 million to $60 million to cities of more than 5,000 people.
Chief administrator Paul Gill said traffic fine revenue in Maple Ridge now all goes to help pay for the city’s ever-growing policing budget, which now sits at $22 million.
Gill though hopes that any extra money from the intersection cameras can be used to pay for new policing costs that cities are now facing, such as having to pay for DNA testing. Maple Ridge has had to pay those costs for about the last year.
“All I heard was they want to revisit the forumla. I hope they protect the base that we’re already relying on. There are a lot of issues that we have to deal with locally because of traffic,” Gill said.
“Policing costs are going up more than any other cost centre. It’s important we get some relief from that.”
The province and the Union of B.C. Municipalities are set to discuss how they will share the increased fine revenue set to come in from upgrades to red-light cameras and electronic ticketing.
Municipal Affairs Selina Robinson cited the “ongoing expansion of automated traffic enforcement,” including the new red-light cameras used to catch speeders.
RCMP currently has 127 police officers, with 101 officers to Maple Ridge, 23 assigned to Pitt Meadows and three funded by the province.
– with files from Black Press