A speed camera installed at Lochinvar following the deaths of two nuns, decades apart, could be removed as part of a state government review.
The camera, on the New England Highway, is one of five cameras statewide earmarked for further review by the Centre for Road Safety.
❏ OPINION POLL: Do you think the Lochinvar camera should be moved?
❏ VOX POP: What people on the street said
If during the field review it is determined that any camera is not delivering the expected safety benefits at the location, it will be recommended for removal and possible relocation.
Ellen Royan, a sister at the St Joseph’s convent since 1953, said the volume of traffic had swelled dramatically over the years.
“I wouldn’t mind if they left it there until the Hunter Expressway was finished . . . it might take some traffic off the road,” she said.
The first death occurred in 1966 and prompted the installation of traffic lights for the safe passage of worshippers between the convent on one side of the highway and St Patrick’s Church on the other.
The second incident occurred 32 years later when a St Joseph’s sister was also hit while crossing the highway. She died in Maitland Hospital on August 6, 1998.
“It had been raining, and while the light was red the driver just didn’t stop,” Sr Royan said. “It might have been a factor in that
camera going in, but we certainly weren’t consulted about that.”
The camera was installed in 2003 and by 2008 had raised $2.3 million, by fining 18,641 motorists, as revealed by a freedom of information request by the Mercury.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the statewide review had looked at all mobile, fixed, red light and point-to-point speed
cameras. “The results from the review are very encouraging with 88 of the 97 fixed speed camera locations recording a reduction in crashes and or casualties,” he said.
“We’re determined to ensure speed
cameras are only in locations where they have a proven road safety benefit, and that they are not simply there as revenue raisers.”
Sr Royan said traffic often crawled through Lochinvar during school hours, between All Saints College, St Joseph’s Campus and Lochinvar Public School.
“The 40 [km/h speed] limit is there
anyway so whether the camera helps I don’t have any evidence empirical or otherwise,” she said. “Revenue raising is a controversial issue but without all the statistics I wouldn’t want to comment.”