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Traffic enforcement can be expensive, Parksville city council learns

Speeding has been a hot-button issue for this council
The city has tried traffic calming measures at different locations

The chief of police appeared before council Monday night to talk about something that has become a priority for the City of Parksville's elected leaders: speeding.

Staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier gave council a run-down of the manpower situation at the detachment.

"The issue we have here is we have only one member in traffic right now," said Pelletier, referring to the RCMP's work within the city limits. "We definitely could use more traffic members, but you're talking about a lot of money, more than $100,000 a member."

Pelletier said the RCMP issued 1,165 traffic tickets or warnings in the city in 2016. That's down from 1,366 in 2015.

Council, especially Mayor Marc Lefebvre, has been railing about speeders on Highway 19A through the city, but Pelletier said "there is speeding all over town," adding that he has parked his unmarked car near school zones recently, where the speed limit is 30 km/h.

"Most of the speeders in school zones are parents," said Pelletier. "And I'm seeing people doing 70-80 km/h in a school zone."

Pelletier said the force has five members on general duty in the city during each shift.

"I can't take members off general duty to go into the traffic unit," he said.

Councillors spoke about traffic-calming measures they might employ on Highway 19A and how expensive that option may be. And there was talk of traffic-fine revenue for the city.

"I'm guessing you can tell it's kind of a priority for us," said Coun. Kim Burden. "If we doubled our enforcement we could have enough for another member."

Pelletier said ideally the city traffic unit would consist of five members, "three at least."

Council did not pass any motions or direct staff to do anything in relation to the discussion with Pelletier.

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