Funding pledge for Kiama CCTV project

Kiama Municipal Council will switch on a network of 13 CCTV cameras in the Kiama CBD in May next year after the NSW government announced it would receive $50,000 required to commence the project.

Stage one will cover the eastern end of Terralong Street starting near the Kiama Leagues Club and continue through to the northern section of Manning Street up to the Grand Hotel.

The council committed $80,000 towards the initial $130,000 project.

Last month, Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis confirmed the council would be given a further $150,000 for the project funded through the federal government’s Safer Streets program.

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the federal funds, due mid-2014, would be used to enhance the CBD network and potentially allow the council to expand its network into other areas at a quicker rate.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said recent changes to privacy laws would avoid a repeat of the situation experienced by neighbouring Shoalhaven City Council which saw Nowra’s CBD cameras temporarily switched off after doubts were raised about their legality.

While Kiama councillors were unanimous in support of the cameras, earlier this year Councillor Mark Way expressed concern that some of the more violent crimes, such as armed robberies, had taken place in suburbs such as Gerringong, Jamberoo and Kiama Downs and the initial 13 cameras should be more evenly spread. Fellow councillor Dennis Seage, a former police detective, said the CBD was an obvious place to start as it was where people gathered late at night and was where assaults and damage to property were most likely to occur.

Cr Seage said the high-definition cameras would be ‘‘passively’’ monitored by Lake Illawarra police, with an agreement reached to allow footage to be accessed by police as required.

Which suburb would be the next to receive cameras was a decision the council was yet to make, Cr Seage said.

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