OUR VIEW: Permanent rainbow crosswalk would send strong statement

A group of LGBTQ advocates in the Alberni Valley gathered under the dark of night last week to paint a rainbow crosswalk.

A group of LGBTQ advocates in the Alberni Valley gathered under the dark of night last week to paint a rainbow crosswalk.

While it’s just temporary, a string of communities such as Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Parksville have made the bold move and painted permanent rainbow crosswalks in their cities.

Campbell River, so far, hasn’t been quite ready to take that step, instead opting to put down a temporary vinyl crosswalk for the community’s Pride festivities while considering whether to install a more permanent marker in the future.

Within 35 minutes of its completion, it was shredded by a vandal doing a burnout in his car — behaviour repeated multiple times since.

The crosswalk was re-done last Friday in time for last Saturday’s Pride Festival but Campbell River’s response should be in the form of a quiet, simple statement: paint another one, this time permanent.

The idea of a safety hazard simply doesn’t wash. In fact, when you consider all the other risky things happening on our roads and the distractions surrounding drivers, the idea is kind of ridiculous. Campbell River already has a crosswalk with sea life on it. Tofino has crosswalks that look like migrating fish.

Cost? Seriously? Every city on the Island spends money on beautification, to support culture, to support the arts, to salute community groups: everything from big, temporary banners to expensive permanent statues of historical figures. Including Campbell River.

Besides, crosswalks get painted all the time and last we heard there wasn’t a significant difference in the price of colours.

In Alberni, a pair of city councillors have started a gofundme account in order to take out the taxpayer-funded element that a few have objected to.

This is very well-intentioned but it shouldn’t be necessary. Rainbow crosswalks pose no threat and they cost very little money. They are a simple statement that diversity is a welcome part of who we are as a community.

It’s a statment we believe most Islanders are ready to make and, more importantly in the wake of the Campbell River vandalism, one that needs to be made.

Black Press

Campbell River Mirror

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