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Video surveillance cameras at Nanaimo Harbour Front scaled back


A British Columbia resident, aware of the former Commissioner's position on video surveillance on the streets of Kelowna, lodged a complaint about the Nanaimo Port Authority's plans to install video surveillance cameras within its Harbour Front.

The Port Authority provides, among other things, mooring facilities for a fee. The customers paying for this service expect the Port Authority to protect their property. Several customer complaints about vandalism and thefts from vessels prompted the Port Authority to consider installing cameras on its piers. Other areas of the property were also earmarked for surveillance — the Port Authority's offices, the parking lots, a boardwalk, the laundry facilities, and the area where fishers and other boat owners deposit pollutants from their vessels that could endanger the environment.

Actions taken by the OPC

While we did not object to the cameras installed in most of these areas for security purposes, we had concerns about monitoring activities along the publicly accessible boardwalk.

Outcome of OPC Actions

The Port Authority's officials readily agreed to move the cameras away from that area. It also agreed to post signs alerting the public of the presence of surveillance cameras at the Harbour Front.

The investigation helped the Port Authority put safeguards in place to ensure that data collected by the cameras is adequately protected, that it is retained no longer than necessary, and that access and disclosure of the information is closely restricted. Given the Port Authority's willingness to address our concerns, the complaint was deemed resolved.

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