The City of Kelowna is working with the provincial information and privacy commissioner to ensure its proposed surveillance monitoring program is legal.
A letter published by the commission earlier this week took aim at cities across the province hoping to install systems, including Kelowna.
The letter took Kelowna’s risk manager, Lance Kayfish by surprise.
Kayfish says the city has been working to ensure their proposal for monitoring will be lawful.
“We have been in contact with the privacy commissioner’s office about the proposal for the full time monitoring, but we haven’t had a chance to complete that process yet,” said Kayfish.
“They have asked us for information and we are still putting together that information.”
Kayfish says the program won’t be put in place until they have been told they are in complete compliance with the privacy act.
“We are quite confident it will be.”
What the city is proposing is 24-7 monitoring of a number of CCTV cameras set up around the city.
He points out the main purpose of the system is to monitor activity inside the three parkades.
“They are the number one area we want to monitor and respond to quickly to reduce unwanted activities and crime before they occur, if possible.”
During a trial period over the summer, Kayfish says they noted a decrease in vandalism, property damage and other issues in the parkade. He also noted some lives may have been saved.
“And, arising from unfortunate circumstances, there may have been some lives saved because of that full-time monitoring as a result of early intervention for people in medical distress who were probably overdosing in the parkade.”
Other places like secure facilities such as the landfill and work yard after hours will also be monitored.
Kayfish expects the approval process to take a few months, and hopes to have the monitoring system in place by the summer.
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