I was pleased that the Penticton City Council is discussing the issue of painting crosswalks in Penticton with colours of the rainbow.
Taking the time to consider all perspectives and giving the citizens they serve a chance to share their views on the matter is refreshing. It is also in sharp contrast to the way Summerland council chose to proceed.
Summerland council members briefly considered the issue at the end of one of their meetings while Penticton council discussed the issue at length as part of a larger discussion they were having about inclusivity.
Summerland council concluded their brief discussion on the matter without making a formal decision, however did give the green light to staff to immediately go ahead and paint the crosswalks.
Penticton council on the other hand tasked their city staff with looking in more detail at the issue and asked staff to report back with any other options that perhaps had not been considered.
Summerland council, when asked if they would pause the painting of the crosswalks long enough to consult with the broader community, said no.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit on the other hand, when asked if he would consider opening up the discussion and invite citizens to put forward their views on the subject said, “Yes I agree.”
In Summerland, I sent Mayor Peter Waterman three emails asking him to respond to my questions about the issue of painting crosswalks.
He replied to me once with a one-liner that said, “I understand that CAO [Linda] Tynan has responded to your questions.”
Penticton’s Mayor Jakubeit on the other hand responded to all of my direct questions within 17 minutes.
Thank you Mayor Jakubeit!
And finally, when Linda Tynan was asked why our elected officials in Summerland didn’t feel the need to consult with citizens they serve on the issue of painting crosswalks in rainbow colours, she replied by saying it was a, “small public works matter.”
When Mayor Jakubeit was asked about the issue of consultation he replied by saying that his council would, “require ideas from the community” to achieve their goals.
I am hopeful that our mayor and council in Summerland will change their mind and consult with the people they serve before proceeding with their plan to paint the crosswalks in our home town.
However if they don’t, perhaps they can still learn a lesson or two from the mayor and councillors of Penticton — a council who obviously still values input from the citizens they serve.