Cameras to keep rolling in Paradise as town takes issue to court

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Cameras to keep rolling in Paradise as town takes issue to court

Dozens of surveillance cameras in Paradise will continue to record, despite a recommendation from the province's privacy commissioner.

The Town of Paradise sent an official response to commissioner Donovan Molloy on Wednesday, saying it will take the issue to court.

Earlier this month, Molloy requested the town remove the cameras until it provides further evidence to justify its need for all 87 cameras.

"We weren't prepared to turn off our cameras," said Mayor Dan Bobbett. "We installed the cameras initially because we've had a few break-ins. We've had people pull fire alarms, false fire alarms."

Bobbett said the safety and security of all employees and visitors, and the protection of its assets are of utmost importance.

Both sides will continue to try to reach an agreement, but failing that, the matter will go to Supreme Court and a judge will rule on whether the town has to follow the privacy commissioner's advice.

In his report, Molloy said he asked for documentation of those incidents of vandalism and mischief — and got no response.

Bobbett said they have worked with the commissioner since the report was release and have provided some additional information, but not enough to reach an agreement with Molloy yet.

The mayor said the town developed a "progressive and comprehensive" surveillance policy and ratified it at a public council meeting, and the town doesn't see anything wrong with the cameras. The town does not believe it violates the province's privacy legislation.

Cameras not in private areas, town says

Paradise has 23 cameras indoors, 18 of which are in staff-only areas. In his report, Molloy said he asked for justification for those cameras, and again got no response.

In its response to Molloy, the town said all staff were given notice before the cameras were installed, and they are all in public areas — not in washrooms or changing rooms.

The cameras are live streaming to computers used by 25 employees, something Molloy said can cause a heightened risk of privacy breaches.

The Town of Paradise had 10 days to respond to the report, and said it made "sincere" efforts to work with Molloy to resolve the issues within the timeframe. 

"We'll continue to work with him, but we still remain firm that we are not turning off our cameras because we deployed those cameras for a reason," said Bobbett.

Molloy's report was the sixth set of recommendations made to the town in five months — with one in January also relating to security cameras.