A surveillance camera is coming to White Rock’s Five Corners district.
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi confirmed Thursday that “plans are underway to have them installed.” The next day, she said that, “for now,” just one camera will be mounted.
While she couldn’t provide costs – noting the city is still getting quotes for the work – Farrokhi said it’s anticipated the closed-circuit camera (CCTVs) will be operational early this fall.
Vandalism to the city’s rainbow crosswalk – painted in Five Corners in July and defaced with a tire mark less than 24 hours later – was a consideration in the decision to site the camera, she said. (Friday morning, another dark tire mark stretched across the crosswalk.)
“But there were other factors, such as Five Corners being a major hub for events such as Tour de White Rock, TD Concert Series, as well as pedestrian safety,” she told Peace Arch News by email.
Farrokhi noted White Rock has cameras in place at two other sites already – its works yard and near Memorial Park – and said the city is not unique in its use of such equipment.
“As you may know, for several years, Metro Vancouver cities have installed CCTV cameras for various reasons, such as to assist with improving traffic and pedestrian safety, and improve security over City property,” Farrokhi said.
“We’ll assess the situation over the coming months and decide if another camera (at Five Corners) is required.”
The use of city-operated CCTVs launched in White Rock six years ago, following a proposal to look at their potential along the waterfront – with a thought to possibly extending that use elsewhere in the future – by then-councillor Al Campbell.
Campbell had said he wanted options explored for the installation of a system that can be used both as a deterrent and “to gather information to assist in preserving safety and possible video feed of what’s happening in that area.”
“I really believe that here, our pier and promenade… a lot of things are going on down there we’re really not aware of,” Campbell told PAN at the time. “(Something) will happen one day, and we’ve got to be prepared for something like that.”
He noted they were first introduced in England in the ’70s and ’80s, and have served to both reduce the drain on police resources and help catch criminals
Just one councillor, Helen Fathers, opposed having staff look into the cost, necessity and legality of installing the cameras – describing the exercise as “a total waste of the time” – and city staff returned with a determination that their use along the waterfront could not be justified at that time.
Campbell told PAN following the December 2012 finding that surveillance cameras weren’t justified elsewhere that it was only a matter of time until they would be.
“It’s not a case of if, it’s when,” he said. “I think at some point or the other…it’s got to be in the best interests of the city.”
Surveillance cameras were eventually deemed potentially helpful in curbing illegal dumping at the city’s Keil Street works yard, and were installed at that site in the spring of 2013 at a cost of about $13,000.
The City of Surrey has been using closed-circuit televisions since 2009, starting as an effort to combat auto crime in the Scott Road Skytrain parking lot.