Rainbow crosswalk plan paused in Peachland for political conversation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rainbow crosswalk plan paused in Peachland for political conversation

A rainbow crosswalk has been installed at Lawrence Avenue and Pandosy Street in downtown Kelowna.
Image Credit: Okanagan Pride
September 19, 2019 - 2:26 PM

PEACHLAND - Plans for one small Okanagan town to get rainbow crosswalk were put on hold this week when the conversation about paint turned into something a bit weightier.

Mayor Cindy Fortin raised the idea of the rainbow crosswalk representing “inclusivity” for the intersection of Peachland's Beach Avenue and Third Street at a Sept. 17 meeting.

"This is a very small thing we could do to recognize that members of the LGBTQ community deserve the right to exist among us without prejudice,” Fortin said during a discussion on the notice of motion.

The only thing the motion addressed was the $1,500 cost associated with the endeavour.

Coun. Pete Coolio wanted to discuss more than paint, however, saying he wasn’t sure it was something the people of Peachland were interested in. Those he’d spoken to about the crosswalk had “rolled their eyes” in response.

He also raised concerns about the message council would be sending. 

“I think if we’re going to put in a rainbow it should be more than doing it because everyone else is doing it,” Coun. Coolio said, noting that it wouldn’t be tied to any pride events.

If it was just to be done as a “political statement,”  Coolio wanted to know if the district making similar statements for other groups in the future.

Coun. Keith Fielding told his fellow councillors he wanted to make sure that council got a report explaining what the crosswalk meant, although he supported it personally.

“Then when that report comes we can debate on its merits,” Fielding said. “I personally would like to see some indication from our community that this is an initiative that has community support.”

He also said he’d like to see representatives from the LBGQT community explain why it would be of value to them.

“Otherwise it appears to me to be simply to be jumping on the bandwagon,” he said.

That all sounded like foot-dragging to Coun. Mike Kent.

“The reasons (for the crosswalk) are self-evident — it’s to celebrate our differences and send a message of inclusivity,” he said. “We are digging up reasons to politicize such a massage and find arguments against it.”

Council voted 4-2 against it, following a 20-minute conversation. They instead approved a motion to get a city staff report on the crosswalk idea and what it even means. Kent and Fortin voted for the motion and Coolio, Fielding, Condon and Coun. Patrick Van Minsel were opposed. Coun. Pam Cunningham was absent.

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