COUNCILLOR Alex Christian believes Bathurst will be much more secure when closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras are installed in the coming months.
Establishing a comprehensive CCTV network in Bathurst has long been called for, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the plans truly gained momentum.
On Wednesday, Bathurst Regional Council is set to adopt its Central Business District (CBD) Close Circuit Television (CCTV) policy, which underpins the introduction, ongoing management and operation of the network.
The draft policy was placed on public exhibition for a 28-day period, inviting residents to make submissions on it.
Only one submission was received, which overall was “highly supportive” of the document.
It related to the suggestion of mobile cameras for events, the importance of high quality cameras, coverage around Machattie Park and the possibility of signage indicating CCTV may be operational in some areas.
Cr Christian said praise had to be given to council staff, who had worked tirelessly to increase the coverage of CCTV in Bathurst and create a thorough policy to manage it.
He admitted he had put the pressure on them to get the project off the ground.
“I’m like a dog with a bone and I’ve worked closely with council staff to get this done and with Cr Ian North,” Cr Christian said.
“And I am pleased that this is something I’ll have been able to accomplish in my first term.”
While it was anticipated that cameras could be installed by the end of 2018, Cr Christian said it appeared early 2019 was more likely.
He said the addition of the cameras, which will be linked to Bathurst Police, would improve the safety and security of its residents.
“I’ve always said that CCTV accompanied by the appropriate signage would be a deterrent [to criminal activity],” Cr Christian said.
CCTV cameras could also be used to track missing people, including children who wander off from the parents, he said.
As council has previously been unsuccessful in its applications for funding, it has committed its own funds in the 2018-19 budget to cover the costs of CCTV.
Council has continued to apply for funding to support the project and its future expansion, and Cr Christian is hopeful that some success in that area will be seen soon.
“I am growing a little impatient in regards to state and federal grants,” he said.
“I have spoken to Paul Toole and I hope to see Bathurst get some grants.”
He said that other regional cities had obtained CCTV funding in recent times and there was no reason why Bathurst should miss out.
“I think we are as safe as most cities around us and in the year 2018 CCTV is just a common sense approach to safety,” Cr Christian said.
“CCTV is a funny thing; you don’t need it until you need it.”