Mayor’s corner: Photo radar money…..Where does it go?

Tyler Warman
Mayor of Slave Lake

Since we brought in photo radar, council has gotten a lot of questions about it, such as where the money from the tickets goes. To simplify it, council receives a portion from all photo radar tickets issued within the Town of Slave Lake. Another portion of the ticket goes to the company that does the work, and the last portion of the ticket goes to the province.
Recently, council passed a policy that governed where the portion of the ticket council collects is used. The policy states that the money collected can never be used for operational expenses. The reason for this is to ensure that if a future council decides to get rid of the program, it will never impact the taxes in the town. Council wanted to use the money to improve safety within the community, or by making a one-time capital improvement to either a sports field or recreational facility.
There is also an option to use the funds towards debt reduction. In the 2017 budget, this council decided to put some of the money from photo radar towards our parks and playgrounds. Administration brought reports to council that looked at issues at Hilda Eben Park, and the Southwest Quadrant Park (or nacho cheese park as everyone calls it). We applied for a grant and were successful in securing $30,000 that had to be used towards rubber surfacing. Council also threw in $175,000 worth of photo radar money.
Now we wanted to make some improvements to the surface at the playground at Hilda Eben, and add some amenities to the South West Quadrant Park. After consideration, council decided that it made financial sense to put the rubber surface and more playground equipment at the South West Quadrant Park. Hilda Eben Park, and playground, while being one of the oldest parks in town would have cost more to upgrade, and this council decided that we would retro-fit the park at a future date. This includes the playground surface and boards, and it is probably time to fix the benches that have sunk to ground level.
That $175,000, from photo radar, that council put into upgrading our parks, will go towards grading and paving a parking lot at the SW quadrant Park. We will be installing three light standards at the park for more visibility at night. We are also excited to partner with SLIP volunteers, who maintain the outdoor rinks, to install a skating track at the South West Quadrant Park. We understand that not everyone wants to play hockey so we think this could be a cool feature, and a draw to the park.
The skating track is a new idea and so SLIP has agreed to work with us on its use for this year. If we don’t see usage, of the skating track, there is consideration of another outdoor rink at this park.
Council is looking at long-term options for this park as well; you might see increased lighting, benches, fire pits, a bicycle track, and some outdoor exercise equipment. But this is just a potential, as these ideas will all be debated at future council meetings.
Please feel free to contact our town office at 780-849-8000. Our administration is always here to help answer your questions.

 

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