by EVAN MATTHEWS
Though the margin was slim, slimmer than Valemount’s, Jasper’s Town Council has voted against the rainbow crosswalk.
The 3-2 decision comes shortly after OUT Jasper fundraised a total of $7,500 to pay for the installation and maintenance of the crosswalk, as reported by the Fitzhugh.
OUT Jasper is an organization dedicated to “pushing the movement of LGBTQ2 equality and human rights through the mountains and into the Yellowhead region,” according to its website, while a rainbow crosswalk is a symbol of inclusiveness within the LGBTQ2 community.
A report to council from town staff estimates an installation cost of $2,500 for the crosswalk depending on amount of paint. Yearly maintenance costs would be additional.
At least one Jasper councillor questioned the need for a rainbow crosswalk, according to local media, and the councillor said while the crosswalk is meant to be inclusive, endeavours like this can become divisive.
The same councillor made note of the precedent the crosswalk would set in reference to other groups wanting their own crosswalk.
Jasper Mayor Richard Ireland has publicly supported the LGBTQ2 community and the crosswalk, but he acknowledged the councillor’s perspective, according to local media.
The recommendation from the Town of Jasper staff was for Council to support the installation of a rainbow crosswalk, according to a report.
This all comes almost a calendar year after Valemount Council rejected the idea for a rainbow crosswalk.
Interestingly, the Town of Jasper used the image rendering of Valemount’s rejected rainbow crosswalk proposal in its report, and references the Valemount rendering as being OUT Jasper’s design preference.
Then-CAO of Valemount Mark Macneill cited the potential cost — estimated by him to be as high as $10,000 in addition to maintenance — and challenges pertaining to liability as the main drawbacks.
Local woman, Mandy McMinn had proposed Valemount’s crosswalk.
Valemount Council voted unanimously to reject the crosswalk.
Since that time, a Facebook group of crosswalk supporters has carried on to discuss other potential inclusive symbols, but so far none have come to fruition.