A City of Vancouver report repeatedly emphasizes the cameras are only ‘temporary’
A report coming to Vancouver City Council for debate next week is seeking approval to request $435,161.81 from the Province of BC to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The report will certainly generate a lot of controversy with those folks opposed to big brother watching over their shoulder.
It is worth noting that the word "temporary" appears no fewer than 11 times on the first two pages of this report. That’s likely because the issue of implementing CCTV is bound to set off fireworks with all the community activists in the downtown eastside as well as civil libertarians. They’ll naturally be worried that this experiment will be so successful the police will want to implement it as a "permanent" feature after the Games are long over. I would say they have good reason to worry on that front.
It will be interesting to see if Mayor Robertson (Chair of the Police Board) and his Vision colleagues fall on the side of safety, or bend to community concerns on this one. The CCTV cameras are being recommended by the new City Manager Penny Ballem. They will first be tested at the Celebration of Light fireworks display later this year. The following is an excerpt from the City report:
"Notwithstanding the temporary and restricted nature of this CCTV deployment, it is
recognized that there is a level of public concern that accompanies the proposed deployment of any CCTV system. It is therefore considered important to clearly communicate the aims and objectives of this deployment.
In line with this, a public engagement process will be established which will seek to clearly outline the rationale for this initiative and provide a forum for dialog. Amongst stakeholders who will be invited to participate will be the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association(BCCLA), which has expressed ongoing concerns over the deployment of CCTV, and the Vancouver Public Space Network.
Although the Vancouver Police Department will not be managing the deployment or
monitoring of CCTV for the 2010 Games, it is considered important to involve them in this engagement process, and senior representatives from the VPD have agreed to join in discussions."
By way of background on the financing of the CCTV scheme, the report states:
In October 2008 the Province of British Columbia announced the provision of a total of $1 million in funding to the municipalities of Vancouver, Surrey and Kelowna to support the implementation of CCTV-related initiatives.
In response to this request, the City’s Office of Emergency Management submitted a proposal for funds to establish a mobile CCTV system focused on public safety and event management. This system will be capable of providing rapidly deployable temporary monitoring capabilities at large public events or in response to hazards, emergencies and other unforeseen eventualities. An integral component of this bid is the provision of a Control Room located at Vancouver’s Emergency Operations Centre, a seismically- resilient building. This is also important in helping the City in the long term address its disaster recovery and business resumption needs.
The Control Room will also provide the City with the infrastructure needed for the temporary monitoring of CCTV cameras during the Games period in 2010. The total request for funds from the Province is for $435,161.81. This represents the full cost of the project – including project management and contingency allocations.
As far as overall costs go, the report outlines the following information relating to the project:
The Vancouver Integrated Security Unit has allocated funds for the deployment of temporary CCTV cameras in the Urban Domain during the 2010 Games period. V2010-ISU has identified the entertainment district and the Cruise Ship Terminal as key areas in need of temporary CCTV provision. In addition, the City has identified the City-run ‘Live Sites’ as requiring the temporary deployment of CCTV during the Games.
The V2010-ISU funds allocated for this purpose total $2,160,229.00. This sum provides for the procurement and installation of cameras and for the monitoring of those cameras during the Games period.
To read a copy of the report, click here.