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Alberta

Provincial government says photo radar a cash grab.. changes coming

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Minister Mason announces changes to photo radar

From the Province of Alberta

Photo radar must focus on safety

An independent third-party review of photo radar operations in Alberta shows that it has a marginal contribution to traffic safety across the province. Changes to the provincial guidelines governing the use of the devices will enhance transparency, increase oversight and enshrine the principle that photo radar can be used only to improve road safety.

“Our goal is to eliminate photo radar as a tool for revenue generation. Photo radar operations must contribute to significant traffic safety outcomes, like reducing collisions and saving lives. We are updating the provincial photo radar guidelines to provide the direction and clarity that municipalities and police agencies need in order to focus on safety.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

The independent review shows that the photo radar guidelines need to produce better data to demonstrate how photo radar contributes to traffic safety. The guideline changes will:

  • Improve accountability by clarifying roles and responsibilities for photo radar programs.
  • Require municipal Traffic Safety Plans to use collision data to ensure photo radar programs are directly tied to safety. The plans will be audited by the provincial government to ensure compliance.
  • Require police services and/or municipalities to post and update photo radar locations and their rationale on municipal/police websites every month (links will be provided on Alberta.ca/photoradar).
  • Prohibit the use of photo radar in transition zones (i.e. adjacent to speed limit signs where speed limits change).
  • Prohibit the use of photo radar on high-speed multi-lane roadways, unless there is a documented traffic safety issue.
  • Require annual reporting and evaluation of how photo radar programs are achieving traffic safety outcomes.

Conventional traffic enforcement, such as police patrolling or scanning traffic with radar, is still allowed in locations where automated enforcement is prohibited. Radar is also still allowed in school zones, playground zones and construction zones.

Over the next year, government will work with municipalities to implement guideline changes, allowing enough time for municipalities to adapt. Government will work with municipalities to refine the guidelines for photo radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection that will allow for improved and ongoing program evaluation.

Quick facts

  • Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), commonly referred to as photo radar, is prohibited on provincial highways. It can be used only on sections of highway that pass through municipal boundaries.
  • Currently, 27 municipalities in Alberta are using photo radar programs within their jurisdictions.
  • The existing photo radar guidelines have been in effect since 2014.
  • The independent third-party review found that:
    • More and better data is required from municipalities to justify the use of photo radar and to demonstrate how photo radar contributes to traffic safety.
    • Over a 10-year period, photo radar has been directly responsible for a:
      • 1.4 per cent decrease in collision rates
      • 5.3 per cent reduction in the proportion of fatal collisions

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Saskatchewan Roughriders avoid season sweep in downing Calgary Stampeders 20-17

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CALGARY — The Saskatchewan Roughriders avoided a third consecutive loss to the Stampeders with a 20-17 win Saturday in Calgary.

By a quirk of the CFL schedule, Calgary is the only opponent the Roughriders have played so far in October interrupted only by a bye week.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hammering the B.C. Lions 45-0 in another West Division game Saturday to get to 10-1 means the defending Grey Cup champions will host the division final Dec. 5.

Saskatchewan (6-4), Calgary (5-6) and the Lions (4-6) are in a race to have the Nov. 28 division semifinal in their stadiums, while the Edmonton Elks (2-7) languish in the basement.

The Stampeders took two games off Saskatchewan in early October to secure the season series. Calgary would rank higher in the standings in the event of a tie between the two clubs at the end of the regular season.

Trailing 10-6 at halftime Saturday, the Roughriders rallied with a pair of second-half touchdowns in front of an announced 21,672 at McMahon Stadium.

Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo completed 21-of-26 pass attempts for 222 yards. He threw touchdown passes to Brayden Lenius and Kyran Moore and was intercepted once.

Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther kicked field goals from 48 and 52 yards, but missed from 54 and 44 yards.

Fajardo earned his first career victory against the Stampeders as did Craig Dickenson as Saskatchewan’s head coach.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 21 for 31 in passing Saturday to become the Stampeders’ leader in all-time completions.

The 31-year-old Texan needed just two Saturday to surpass previous leader Henry Burris (2,267), and he produced them on Calgary’s opening drive.

Mitchell threw for 311 yards to be 14 shy of a career 30,000.

Two of his three interceptions occurred in Saturday’s second half, however, when Mitchell was also sacked four times.

Ka’Deem Carey scored a rushing touchdown, Richie Sindani made a touchdown catch and Rene Paredes kicked a 12-yard field goal for Calgary.

With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Mitchell’s 44-yard bomb to Shawn Bane put the hosts on Saskatchewan’s 24-yard-line .

A four-yard scoring throw to Sindani on the goal-line, plus the convert, had the Stampeders trailing by a field goal with 48 seconds remaining.

Calgary’s attempt to recover an onside kick failed, however, on a leaping grab by Saskatchewan’s Duke Williams. The Stampeders had the ball for one final drive, but didn’t score again.

Saskatchewan’s Jeremy Clark ran an interception back to Calgary’s 13-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. On a third-and-goal, Fajardo threw to Moore in the end zone for a 20-10 lead.

The Roughriders led for the first time in the game midway through the third when Fajardo found Lenius in the end zone with a 13-yard pass.

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund fumbled a return in the first half’s final seconds for Saskatchewan to recover. Lauther was wide on a 44-yard attempt, however, after success from 52 out on Saskatchewan’s previous drive.

Carey’s one-yard scoring plunge finished a 12-play, 92-yard drive in the second quarter.

Calgary’s march downfield featured Kamar Jorden’s acrobatic grab for a 31-yard reception to get to Saskatchewan’s doorstep.

Lauther kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play of the opening quarter for a 3-3 score. He then missed a 54-yard attempt early in the second quarter.

Saskatchewan didn’t take advantage of a Jacob Dearborn interception early in the first quarter. A subsequent fumble on a snap gave Calgary the ball back on their own 27-yard line.

Calgary converted a Branden Dozier interception on Saskatchewan’s opening drive of the game into a 12-yard field goal by Paredes.

Notes: D’haquille “Duke” Williams compiled 48 receiving yards on three catches in his Roughriders debut. The former CFL all-star with Edmonton spent the last two seasons with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills . . . Stampeder defensive end Folarin Orimolade sacked Fajardo twice after missing seven games with an ankle injury.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2021

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta government says jobs, economy, COVID to be focus of fall legislature sitting

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government plans a busy fall legislature sitting aimed at adding jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on tamping down the renewed surge of COVID-19.

Government house leader Jason Nixon says this will include proposed legislation on recognizing professional credentials to address labour shortages. The bill will be introduced by Premier Jason Kenney.

“Our focus will be on Alberta’s workforce, a couple of bills around diversifying the economy, a big focus on building infrastructure for our future, (and) growing our resources, particularly on the energy side,” Nixon said in an interview Friday.

There will also be new initiatives on environmental protection and conservation.

Nixon said there will be 18 to 20 bills for the sitting, which begins Monday and is scheduled to run to the first week of December. 

“It’s a very robust fall agenda,” he said.

Nixon said the government will continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 cases, which have severely stressed the health system.

No COVID-19-specific bills are planned, he said, noting they were passed in previous sittings. 

“There’s certainly other stuff to be done to manage the pandemic … but we’ll stand ready if Alberta Health needs us to pass any legislation to deal with the pandemic.”

He said debate in the chamber is expected to return to some semblance of normalcy.

In the spring sitting, both the United Conservative government and the Opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the chamber to prevent the spread of the virus. 

This time, with all NDP members and all but one on the UCP side vaccinated, all will be allowed back in for debate.

The lone UCP member has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly, said Nixon.

He said there are still masking rules and members will try to maintain distancing where possible.

The NDP said it plans to hold the government accountable for what went disastrously wrong on COVID-19.

“This fall sitting of the legislature will be laser-focused on getting answers from the UCP on why they’ve failed Albertans so miserably in managing the devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christina Gray, the NDP house leader.

“Since July 15, more than 85,000 additional Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died.”

Gray said the NDP will call for an all-party inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic with the power to compel documents and testimony.

Nixon said the government will not agree to such a motion. He said it would be wrong to redeploy vital health resources right now and that Kenney has promised an eventual review of how the province handled the pandemic.

Kenney has also promised to bring forward a motion to ratify and act on the results of Monday’s provincewide referendum on Canada’s equalization program.

Final results aren’t in from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities suggest the referendum will pass with about 60 per cent in support of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution.

Kenney has said the issue is not about removing equalization, something no province can do unilaterally, but about getting leverage to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers to attain a better deal with Ottawa.

Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney will likely continue to focus on initiatives such as the equalization referendum, if only to change the narrative on his low popularity ratings.

“The premier will be spending most of his time, if he has anything to say about it, outside the province, stumping for this fair deal,” said Wesley, with the University of Alberta.

COVID-19 numbers have been trending down in recent weeks. But Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, say the situation remains precarious.

On Friday, there were just over 10,000 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. And there were 191 COVID-19 patients in intensive care. 

Alberta’s fourth wave troubles began after Kenney lifted almost all COVID-19 related health restrictions as of July 1, boasting that the pandemic had moved to the “endemic” phase and there was no need to plan for a renewed case surge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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