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Video cameras being installed on Powell River school buses

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The Powell River School District is taking a proactive approach towards safety on city streets.

According to SD 47 acting transportation manager Shaun Garvey, the school district is equipping cameras on all of its buses with a goal of recording traffic intersection violations and then passing along information to authorities.

External cameras are being fastened onto the driver’s side of all of SD’s active buses and buses, with a goal of monitoring “other drivers’ activities around our buses,” Garvey told the newsroom.

The cameras are scheduled to be fully installed next week.

“We have had a lot of awareness raised recently about the amount of incidents which are occurring where people are driving through our stoplights,” Garvey said.

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“And that tends to be one of the key focuses here in town, in the community, in public awareness, as well as what we’re doing here in the school district which is installing cameras external of our vehicles to start actually monitoring and providing information to the enforcement authorities relative to any events where people are going through our lights.”

Garvey wouldn’t go as far as to say the district is partnering with the Powell River RCMP, but he did note “we have had meetings with them associated with several close calls that we’ve had, in incidents in the area over the last few months since school started.”

In light of these incidents, RCMP suggested that if the school district could provide them with footage and be able to identify any vehicles involved in future near-misses, they would be able to follow up much more actively than they would otherwise have if they didn’t have video clips.

“That is one of the reasons why we’re doing this, but not the least of which is to try to increase public awareness around this particular issue,” Garvey said.

Powell River isn’t the first school district to adopt this initiative, according to Garvey.

“There are other school districts in Canada that have done so, (but) I’m not sure if there are any in this general area that have, in British Columbia,” he added.

“There is a company out of the Lower Mainland that has been supplying these types of cameras to school districts for several years, now. (They are) pretty advanced, as far as their abilities to capture video in poor lighting conditions and that type of thing.”

The cameras will be active anytime Powell River school buses are in operation, covering routes as far north as Lund and as far south as Saltery Bay.

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