Qualicum Beach's rainbow crosswalk, halfway through being cleaned by Town of Qualicum Beach public works employees. The crosswalk is on Village Way in front of Kwalikum Secondary School. (Photo courtesy Oliver Watson)

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

'It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community'

  • Aug. 21, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Public works employees needed parts of two days to remove a mysterious black substance found recently on Qualicum Beach’s rainbow sidewalk, following an act officials say appears to be targeted vandalism.

The substance required multiple types of cleaners to remove, according to Oliver Watson, with the Town of Qualicum Beach. The incident took place Aug. 10. The crosswalk is on Village Way in front of Kwalikum Secondary School.

“It looked like something had been spilled on there intentionally… it was only on the crosswalk, and not on the adjacent pavement,” said Watson.

Watson is fairly certain it wasn’t paint.

“It almost looked like driveway sealer. Asphalt driveway sealer is kind of what it looked like. It was black,” said Watson.

Employees first attempted to use a high-powered pressure washer to remove the material. Some came off, but not all, and crews had to return the next day. They tried a variety of cleaners, and managed to remove the majority of the substance.

Watson says whatever it was, it was very difficult to remove.

READ MORE: Rainbow crosswalk approved in Qualicum Beach

“It’s unfortunate. Aside from the price, just it being a rainbow crosswalk, it should be respected,” said Watson.

“It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community.”

Earlier this week, vandals hit the City of Calgary’s Pride crosswalk twice. Coldstream, B.C., and Red Deer, Alta., have both reported vandalism to their rainbow crosswalks this summer.

“That symbol stands against bullying and harassment. And someone has gone to great effort to ruin that symbol. I think that’s completely unacceptable, and I think as a municipality we stand with those messages, of standing against bullying and harassment,” said Qualicum Beach Coun. Robert Filmer.

Anyone with information can contact the Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111 or the Town of Qualicum Beach bylaw enforcement at 250-738-2205.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

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