Skip to content

Vandal uses chainsaw to cut down Essa Township speed camera

Camera on 25th Sideroad had been issuing up to 50 tickets daily; township official says it's 'really unfortunate' someone would go to such lengths
Someone wielding a chainsaw cut down the post that supported an automated speed enforcement (ASE) camera in Essa Township sometime over the past week.

A chainsaw-wielding criminal made quick work of Essa Township’s first speed camera sometime over the past week, leaving a pile of sawdust at the scene.

Installed and operational for only a few weeks, the post that supported the municipality's automated speed enforcement (ASE) camera on the 25th Sideroad, between the 9th and 10th lines, was felled. The camera and solar panel that provided it power were trashed.

“We’re not sure when it happened exactly. It’s still under investigation by the OPP,” said Michael Mikael, the township's interim chief administrative officer.

While this is the first instance of vandalism to one of Essa's ASE devices, Mikael said it’s a common occurrence in areas where speed cameras have been established. One of the more popular vandalism methods is spray-painting the camera lens.

Mikael said the township will not be liable for any of the replacement costs, which will be covered by Global Traffic, the township’s partner in the ASE program.

He added it’s unfortunate to see such behaviour in the community. 

“For a program that is designed to make our streets safer for everyone, basically by encouraging drivers to slow down and obey the speed limit, so it’s really unfortunate,” he said.

ASE uses a camera and a speed-measurement device (radar) to enforce speed limits. The system captures and records images of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit in community safety zones, with tickets issued to the registered plate holder, regardless of who was driving. The registered plate holder will receive a monetary fine, but no demerit points will be applied.

Essa Township says it will be looking at adding more safety features to the ASE camera configuration, including other materials that can’t be easily cut down.

“We are working on developing something more robust for such issues down the road,” Mikael said.

The camera that was vandalized was issuing between 30 and 50 tickets per day.

Mikael said about 5,000 vehicles travel on that section of road every day.

“The program is about trying to change driver behaviour,” Mikael said. “This isn’t a cash grab because all you have to do to avoid paying a ticket is drive at or under the speed limit.

“If you don’t speed, you don’t pay,” he added.

Essa's ASE program is focused on five community safety zones, including Denney Drive, 25th Sideroad, 20th Sideroad, 5th Line and King Street.

Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wayne Doyle covers the townships of Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Essa for BarrieToday under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), which is funded by the Government of Canada
Read more