Speeding incidents increasing, as Hay River proposes changes to ticketing bylaw

Construction near Hay River's Pine Point Bridge. (Supplied by NWT Infrastructure.)
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Town staff says the number of people speeding in school zones is “unbelievable” as Hay RIver councillors try to pass a bylaw that would increase the number of fines the town’s protective services can hand out.

Ross Potter, Director of Hay River Protective Service says the town has been paying particular attention to school zones in the new year.

“I find it really quite unbelievable, the number of people who are using cell phones and speeding through the school zones,” Potter said in the town council meeting on January 11.

Potter says there has also been a real problem with people passing school busses while kids are being offloaded.

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In January, there were 30 speeding incidents in the town. Twenty-three resulted in fines. Seven individuals were given a warning.

The worst speeding offences in January included one person who was caught driving 74 kilometres an hour in a 30 kilometre an hour school zone. Another individual was caught driving at 113 kilometres an hour in a 40 kilometres an hour zone.

The town is currently reviewing Bylaw 2423, which would allow town officers to issue tickets for certain penalties that are currently in the NWT’s Motor Vehicle Act. The bylaw also would remove the 50 per cent discount residents can receive if they pay their fines early.

“The addition of infractions from the Motor Vehicle Act into bylaw allows for penalties to be directed to the Town of Hay River instead of the Government of the NWT when enforced by our Protective Services Department,” according to town documents from the January 11 meeting.

The protective services have started enforcing the traffic bylaw and the motor vehicles act, which only started around September of last year. 

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“We are hoping the continued education and enforcement will change behavior of some of the drivers in town,” Potter said in an email.

The fine revenue could help cover some of the increased costs of services protective services is facing. The service has seen a significant increase in other areas, like ambulance calls, according to Potter. 

Potter said the increase in ambulance calls has been in part due to the homeless population in town. 

Hay River Mayor Kandis James said she has brought concerns forward about the impact of the increase in ambulance calls forward to the territory’s homelessness and health ministers.

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