A rainbow crosswalk has gotten the green light from Hope council, after a 4-3 vote in chambers Aug. 27.
Councillors Bob Erickson, Dusty Smith and Craig Traun opposed giving support to the Hope and Area Transition Society’s (HATS) plans for a rainbow crosswalk at Park St. and 4th Ave., the northeast corner of Memorial Park in downtown Hope.
The crosswalk painting would be covered off by the grant that HATS is applying for, through the Canadian Experiences Fund. The plan would also cover the cost of maintenance for five years.
The initial presentation was given to council in July, by Bonnie Millward and Tamara Young from HATS.
“We are not asking for money,” Millward said at that meeting. “We are just asking for permission, and maybe a letter of support.”
The decision to give that support was made at the Aug. 27 council meeting, after a brief discussion among council members.
“It’s become a symbol of inclusiveness for all and I hope that’s what Hope is all about,” said Coun. Scott Medlock.
But others weren’t so positive that a rainbow crosswalk would be a beacon of hope.
“You’re going to see hatred toward it,” said Coun. Dusty Smith. “I don’t think saying ‘no’ is hurting people as much as vandalism to it would.”
He suggested council move toward doing something unique in Hope to show inclusiveness, such as decorating a lamp post.
“Let’s not follow in the footsteps of everyone else,” Smith said.
Coun. Craig Traun said he is “neutral” to the idea but in the end voted against it, as did Coun. Bob Erickson.
Erickson asked if they approved the crosswalk, then what other groups would want one.
“It’s about being inclusive, it’s not about a special interest group,” Mayor Peter Robb said. He said he received more positive letters for it than negative ones.
“And I don’t see it as a negative,” he added.
He also noted that there are a few in Chilliwack now, too. Chilliwack council has turned down a request for a rainbow crosswalk on public property, but several First Nations bands have painted them on their property, including Eagle Landing. A Chilliwack family also decided to paint a portion of their driveway in rainbow colours to show inclusiveness.
The creation of the rainbow crosswalk in Hope will now rest in the hands of HATS and their application success.