The $2.6m speed camera
IT WON'T come as a surprise to anyone around here but the speed camera on St Helena hill at Ewingsdale is making the State Government rich.
The much-dreaded camera has just been named as the second highest revenue raising camera in the State. It's the only one in a regional area to make the top 10.
New figures from the RTA reveal 19,381 fines were issued from the camera in 2007, earning $2,646,916 for the Government's coffers.
The results add fuel to the fire for the thousands of motorists who claim the camera was faulty and they were travelling below the 60 km/h speed limit at the time their infringement occurred.
South Golden Beach resident Bryce Houston was spearheading a group called Byron Speedsters to challenge the accuracy of the camera in court. "I never felt cameras were revenue raisers before. I always thought it was just people whingeing. But after this I got so many calls and emails and have spoken to people who are paying their second and third fines. I'm sure the RTA is proud of the fact it's come in at number two," he said.
Ballina MP Don Page said he was 'concerned but not surprised' by the result.
"My office has only been handling a small proportion of the fines there, but over 1000 people have come to us insistent they were not speeding during the period from March 28 to July 7, which is the period of contention.
This confirms that it is abnormally high and the only one in NSW in a regional area," he said.
"There are many cameras on the Pacific Highway and there are no others in the top 10, which leads one to the view that something is amiss."
A spokesperson for the RTA said they had carried out a thorough investigations on the St Helena Hill speed camera.
"It is the most checked camera in NSW. Every investigation to date has confirmed the camera is working accurately."
Mr Page said he was trying to get the guidelines for the establishment of speed cameras from the RTA, but they were 'not being very co-operative'.
Mr Page has been campaigning to have a speed camera put at the bottom of Tintenbar hill, a notorious black spot where several trucks have gone over.
"The police supported the move, but the RTA said the site didn't meet the criteria and one of the problems was that it was at the bottom of a hill.
"There does seem to be an inconsistency there because I can think of three cameras in our area which are at the bottom of a hill," he said.