IT appears that where there’s a will there’s a way, after all.
For years now Bathurst Regional Council has put itself off-side with the local business community by resisting calls to install its own closed circuit television network throughout the CBD.
Council’s position has been that such a network would be too costly to be viable.
It has consistently relied on a 2013 report by a working party from the Bathurst Regional Community Safety Committee that conservatively estimated the cost of installing CCTV would be between $300,000 and $440,000.
On top of this, the 2013 report found council would be facing an average annual bill of $400,000 for monitoring, maintenance and evaluation.
Supporters of a council-run CCTV network have always rejected those figures and even experts working in the security industry have maintained it could be done for much less than that.
But now the introduction of some new faces on council following last September’s elections seems to have brought some new thinking to the chamber.
Councillor Alex Christian, in particular, was very vocal during the election campaign about the need for CCTV and his experience as a police officer brings real credibility to what he has to say.
And adding his voice to the long-running campaign by Cr Ian North appears to have produced results.
After denying the need for CCTV cameras for so long, council has now submitted an application for $249,000 through the NSW Community Safety Fund to finally develop its own comprehensive network.
It’s a significant backflip – and one that will be welcomed by most in the city – but we still have every right to ask why it has taken so long.
Residents and the business community have been crying out for years to have CCTV installed both as a deterrent to petty crime in the CBD and to give police a head start when trying to apprehend offenders.
Even as it stands, though, there is no commitment from council to fund CCTV from its own (or, more correctly, ratepayers’ own) funds.
Instead, we are relying on the results of a funding application and, if the roundabout debacle at West Bathurst has taught us anything, we know there are no guarantees.
We’re moving in the right direction but there is still some work to be done.