Council decides not to install a video surveillance system downtown

Fernie City Hall. - N. Obre
Fernie City Hall.
— image credit: N. Obre

After a lengthy debate, council decided not to move forward with the installation of video cameras in downtown Fernie.

Despite previous uncertainty, council unanimously decided to defeat the motion to adopt the video surveillance policy, a policy that required the city to submit a business proposal to the Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (OIPC).

“Initially I thought it was a good concept, but the public’s telling me no it’s not,” Coun. Joe Warshawsky said.

Coun. Phil Iddon added, “I was definitely in favor of putting the cameras downtown…but I don’t expect the tax payers or the city to be posting cameras.”

And although council agreed as a whole that they don’t want the cameras installed, some council members still wanted to push forward with the motion.

Coun. Willard Ripley and Iddon discussed adopting the motion so that future city councils would have something to work with if they decided to again bring the video surveillance policy forward.

“I think the policy should be in place because it’s a cumbersome, very lengthy process to get through that and draw it all up,” Iddon said.

“Adopting the policy and having the cameras, in my mind, are separate,” Ripley added.

“I don’t want to see this work lost that we’ve done.”

But the majority disagreed with this.

“I don’t see there being a lot of utility in adopting the policy if it’s councils decision that we don’t proceed with the cameras,” Chief Administrative Office Jim Hendricks said.

“If a future council is going to do this two or five or 10 years from now, they’re going to have to go out and gauge the new temperature of the community on this sort of thing,” Coun. Dan McSkimming agreed.

Despite this initial divided stand on the video surveillance policy, the city decided to defeat the motion based on public input.

“I’ve just heard too much negative feedback from the public,” Iddon noted.




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