Napanee Council approves purchase of $200,000 CCTV surveillance system

Image by Markus Spiske.

Criminals looking to cause trouble in Napanee will soon have a high-tech surveillance camera system to contend with. 

The contract for a new closed-circuit television (CCTV) system was awarded by Greater Napanee Town Council to Mikala Telecom & Network Solutions for $200,000 (to be funded half by the Town, and half through a provincial grant) at their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Council also received a report from Dave Nicholson, IT Manager for the Town’s Community & Corporate Services, about the system’s capabilities and the request for proposal process followed by Town Staff.

Nicholson’s report recollected that, at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Council learned that in a regular review of Ontario government grants, Greater Napanee staff came across the Ontario closed-circuit television (CCTV) grant program. They then began working with the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to gather the information required for the application.

At that time, Council approved a budget amendment of $100,000 in the expectation that the Town would be successful in the grant application and endorsed the application itself, which was then submitted by the OPP in early June.

In September 2023, it was announced that the L&A OPP would receive $100,500 dollars to go toward a new CCTV camera system in Greater Napanee. 

Subsequent to Council approval, Town staff issued a request for proposals for the supply and implementation of a cloud-hosted video recording and monitoring system. Nicholson’s report explained that a centralized, cloud-based solution provides faster more efficient surveillance by alleviating delays in OPP receiving footage.

Town staff collaborated with the OPP to replace the aging video surveillance system with a modern cloud-based or hybrid solution to improve access control, allowing permitted users, including OPP officers, to view and extract video surveillance footage. By enabling the OPP to retrieve footage as required, the demand on Town staff will be significantly relieved. Currently, the Town receives requests for footage around 60 times a year and each request can take up to four hours of staff time depending on the requirements. 

The report notes that the current system also risks improper storage of video footage, in that a central server houses all captured footage. Loss, theft, or damage to this system would effectively shut down the video surveillance system, resulting in loss of video footage or potential data breaches, Nicholson reported.

Based on the list of specifications set out in the RFP, the report notes that a total of four bids were received within the specified timelines. Submissions were assessed independently by two members of Town staff and two members of the OPP. The assessment was based on price; understanding of the mandate, deliverables and schedule; and on experience and qualifications. 

Staff recommended that Council award the contract to Mikala Telecom & Network Solutions. That company bid $260,151, but it is expected with revision and refinement to camera placement and distribution that this project will be completed within the allotted budget of $200,000, according to the report.

Staff noted that the provincial grant awarded in 2023 has been made available again for 2024. It’s currently the intention of the L&A OPP to apply for the 2024 funding pool. If successful, this would be used to fund ongoing operating costs and to further expand the camera network. 

Subject to stock availability, it is estimated that work will be completed within six to eight weeks of the contract being awarded. Anticipated launch is early July at this time.

During the meeting, Councillor Mike Schenk complained about damage at the North Fredericksburgh Sports Complex, including “some joy riding all around” that had “ripped up the grass… so we have some problems. Is there any way that we could get some video footage [there]?”

Nicholson said that was doable; that some of the old cameras could be redeployed at facilities where cameras are needed.

Councillor Dave Pinnell pointed out, “I see that we approved the $100,000. And we have a grant for $100,000. But their quote came in at 260 [thousand]. If we give approval tonight, in effect, we’re giving approval for $260,000?”

Nicholson apologized for the confusion, “I’m looking for approval to award the contract to Makala to a value of up to the $200,000 approved and not beyond that.”

He explained, “We think we can refine the positions of the cameras without degrading the service and coverage area that we’re looking for. We may have to go back to the OPP and pull a couple of the sites that they were hoping to include in this round,” noting that some solar-powered cameras they had hoped to include might be purchased and installed in the future.

Pinnell asked for a friendly amendment to the motion adding “to a maximum of $200,000” which was added.

Angela Hicks expressed interest in predictive behaviour and facial recognition technology that the new cameras are capable of.  

Nicholson explained that while the software is capable of these things, “we’re very cognizant and the OPP certainly are very cognizant that that service will not be enabled until legislation approves it, which right now it does not.”

Council passed the motion to receive the Purchase and Expansion of CCTV System report, accepting the process undertaken by municipal staff and awarding the contract to Mikala Telecom & Network Solutions.

As always, you can read full Council meeting agendas on Napanee’s civic web online, and watch meetings live or recorded on the town’s YouTube channel.

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