by LAURA KEIL
Valemount Council has passed a motion to refer the idea of painting a rainbow crosswalk in downtown Valemount to senior Village staff for “research.”
At last week’s regular June 28th Council meeting, Valemount residents Mandy McMinn and Gail Burbidge presented a proposal to paint a rainbow crosswalk between the Gathering Tree and the old Fields building.
“It’s not just a representation of the LGBT community,” McMinn told Council. “It will represent the concept of acceptance.”
After the presentation, Mayor Jeannette Townsend asked Council if there was any discussion. There was none. The Council made a motion to accept the proposal. Then Townsend suggested another motion to refer the matter to senior staff, which was passed by three councilors (Counc. Peter Reimer did not vote).
Over a dozen crosswalks have been painted in BC communities to represent acceptance towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and 2-spirited (LGBTQ2) community.
In a letter to Council on the same meeting agenda, Bobbi Roe of the Valemount New Life Centre church, says she hopes the decision over the crosswalk is made “after having given the public an opportunity to express their opinion.”
Roe says the rainbow means different things to different people and a rainbow crosswalk should be inclusive of every group.
“As I see it, painting a rainbow on the crosswalks as requested is a proclamation of support for one group of people, which will cost the Village in terms of materials, staff time and wages.”
“If this request is considered for approval, then it should be inclusive of all groups or organizations that claim the rainbow as their symbol.”
Council did not discuss Roe’s letter, and simply made a motion to receive it.
McMinn says she is only asking for the Village’s cooperation to help make sure the crosswalk is up to spec, and is not asking for money. She plans to fundraise the cost of the paint and painting.
McMinn says she already has 40 signatures from Valemount residents who are in support.
She and Burbidge say they hope council takes the time to consider it.