Two Summerland crosswalks are a lot more colourful now that they have been painted in rainbow colours.
The crosswalks are at the intersection of Main Street and Kelly Avenue and at the mid-block crossing on Victoria Road North, between Main Street and Jubilee Road West.
On Aug. 10, in her councillor’s report, Coun. Erin Trainer proposed the colourful crosswalks as a show of support for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
The crosswalks are based on the rainbow flag, which features horizontal bands of bright colours. This flag has been used as an LGBT pride flag since the late 1970s.
Others on council have stated their support for the colourful crosswalks.
“We value each person as a unique individual with a right to be respected and accepted,” Mayor Peter Waterman said earlier.
Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said the decision to paint the crosswalks is part of municipal council’s commitment to being an inclusive governing body.
According to a 2012 Forum Research poll, commissioned by the National Post, five per cent of those surveyed identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Using Summerland’s population from the 2011 census, five per cent equates to 564 people.
Rainbow-themed crosswalks have been painted in other B.C. communities. In some instances, the decision to paint the crosswalks has been met with resistance.
In Kelowna, where some crosswalks were painted earlier this summer, one woman is working to have the colourful intersections removed.
Nancy Enns has said the crosswalks promote a lifestyle she does not approve of, and has asked that they be returned to their original white colour. She has stated she is prepared to take her complaint to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary.
In New Westminster, white paint was dumped on a downtown rainbow crosswalk in July, just hours after the crosswalk had been unveiled.
Possible vandalism was also reported in Victoria this summer, where black tire marks were left on one rainbow crosswalk.
Since the rainbow crosswalk concept was introduced in Summerland last month, members of the public have voiced some strong opinions both for and against the colourful intersections.