A symbol of inclusion could be coming to the streets of Hope.
The Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS) presented the idea of a rainbow crosswalk to council on Monday night, and council expressed encouragement for the project. But they didn’t go so far as to sign on the dotted line — yet.
The presentation was made by Bonnie Millward, the youth coordinator from HATS, who was joined by Tamara Young and two youth from the community. She said the rainbow crosswalk would be a symbol of diversity and “inclusive of everything.”
“It’s a welcome for everyone so everyone is included,” she said. “Love has no labels.”
The crosswalk project would not come at a cost to the District of Hope, Millward added.
“We are not asking for money,” she said. “We are just asking for permission, and maybe a letter of support.”
Millward said ideally they would also be granted the ability to work with the District’s director of operations to ensure the crosswalk was created in a way that was in keeping with best practices. She provided council with a list of 43 communities that already have added rainbow crosswalks, noting that she’s been in touch with them to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Her proposal to the Canadian Experiences Fund would include a cost for a five-year maintenance plan.
Coun. Scott Medlock offered encouragement for the project. He noted that Lytton’s crosswalk is prominent, and that if Hope was to move forward with one they should follow that lead. The proposal as presented would have the crosswalk run from HATS to Two Rivers Education Centre.
Medlock suggested they find “a more prominent location” and joked that he was jealous Lytton has created one before Hope has.
There was no indication that council would approve the project, but they did discuss the merits of paint versus rubberized pavement. There is currently a group in Chilliwack that is gathering signatures and letters for a rainbow crosswalk in that city, an idea that’s faced criticism there in the past.
Millward told The Standard they are encouraged about the feedback.
“We are very excited about the rainbow crosswalk project and so are the youth of Hope,” she said.
“I felt the presentation was well received and the District had some valid questions that we answered. All in all it felt very positive with support from community members and our community partners. We hope to hear back from mayor and council soon with their final decision and we are optimistic about their approving and supporting the project.”