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UPDATE: Photo radar changes puts Choices Association at risk

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 6:54 pm MST

IMAGE. Supplied by Choices Association of Fort McMurray.

Choices Association’s participation in the Municipality’s Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) Program may be over.

On Nov. 15, Executive Director Rhonda Robinson and the Board of Directors received a formal notice of early termination of their contract as the operator of the ATE vehicle.

Although the contract ends in 2023, the early termination comes into effect as of Jan. 31, 2020.

In a statement, the RMWB confirmed Choices Association of Fort McMurray were the operators of the photo radar vehicle.

However, they were not the overall service provider for delivery of the ATE program.

“Recently, the ATE contract was up for renewal. After a public, competitive and open process, the contract was awarded to a new provider.”

During the Nov. 26 council meeting, the administration revealed to Mayor and councillors of the change.

The Municipality added they anticipate the new overall provider will deliver a high-quality ATE service at a reduced cost to municipal taxpayers.

In the past 16 months, the ATE service cost the Municipality $360,000.

Early termination

According to Choices Association of Fort McMurray, four staff enrolled in their Photo Radar Program operated the ATE vehicle for 20 years.

They include former clients with one employed at the Program’s inception.

In a statement, the group said the sudden termination jeopardizes both those in the Program and the future of Choices.

The revenue generated from the Program supports one-third of Choices Association’s operations.

They said this would impact current and future clients accessing its services, and may also impact Choices’ six employees.

Choices added the Photo Radar Program allowed them to provide accessible services to residents of Fort McMurray for the past 20 years.

“Through the [Photo Radar] Program, Choices Association has maintained both positive financial and social outcomes, ensuring that residents facing a range of barriers are able to access services, including employment opportunities.”

There is concern among the Board of Directors and staff given the lack of dialogue around the decision.

For 50 years, Choices Association provides employment support and expanded opportunities for people with varying abilities.