Video surveillance policy narrowly defeated

In 2008, following various vandalism incidents at Port Elgin’s Cenotaph Park, Council at that time authorized the purchase of video surveillance cameras to be installed at the  Park.

In recent years, vandalism has occurred at other Town properties such as the Port Elgin Airport and the Saugeen Rail Trail Memorial Park.

A draft policy to include the expansion of video surveillance in all parks and Town-owned land was presented to Council on March 22nd. The draft set out who would be responsible for the equipment and videos, who would have access to the videos and how records would be retained.  The policy also considered webcam use on Town properties.

While the objective of Video Surveillance Equipment is “… to enhance the safety and security of Employees, the public, and corporate assets, and to prevent unauthorized activities on or involving Town property to reduce risk and exposure to liability.”

In the report, the Town said that it recognized the “delicate balance between an individual’s right to be free from invasion of privacy and the need to protect the safety and security of its Employees, the public and property.”

Under the scope of the proposed policy, surveillance would apply to all Town officers, Law Enforcement Agency Employees, Employees and agents; Contractors and Service Providers for the Town while performing authorized activities for the Town; and all Video Surveillance Equipment would  located in public areas of Town properties, parks, facilities and property leased by the Town.

It would not however, apply to Council or Committee meetings and would not be used covertly as an investigation tool for Law Enforcement Agencies purposes or in contemplation of litigation.

The draft policy also said that employees would “ensure the Personal Information of persons captured on video surveillance would be maintained as private, confidential, and secure, except as legally exempted or in situations outlined by this Policy.”

The resolution to expand video surveillance throughout Saugeen Shores was however, defeated in a tie vote.

To read the complete report, CLICK HERE.