Salmon Arm council budgeted for possible vandalism to rainbow crosswalk | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Salmon Arm council budgeted for possible vandalism to rainbow crosswalk

The rainbow crosswalk shortly after completion.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/City of Salmon Arm
August 03, 2018 - 5:00 PM

SALMON ARM - The City of Salmon Arm budgeted extra cash in case a recently painted rainbow crosswalk was vandalized - and sadly the extra cash was needed.

Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper says staff's recommendation had been to budget extra funds in case the crosswalk was vandalized.

The rainbow crosswalk painted across a city intersection at 5 Street SW and 5 Avenue SW has been vandalized twice since it was painted on July 18. Skid marks appeared just a few days later and were promptly cleaned off by city staff.

Then on the morning of July 30 the words 'Make S.A. Straight Again' were discovered painted onto the crosswalk. The graffiti is now being investigated by the Salmon Arm RCMP as a hate crime.

Pride Salmon Arm co-chair Monica Kriese said the skid marks did not come as that much of a surprise to her.

"Within a number of days a [rainbow] crosswalk will have skid marks on it," Kriese said. The Salmon Arm resident said all across the country rainbow crosswalks are often vandalized this way when they are first installed.

But Kriese did say the homophobic graffiti had surprised her.

"It's straight out of the Trump Twitterville,” she said. Kriese said the support in the community is very strong.

"What we are seeing is that supporters are speaking up in volume because of the graffiti," said Kriese. "The majority feel this is wrong."

In an act of solidarity, a group of Salmon Arm residents will be watching the crosswalk overnight.

Sydney Barron said she had organized people to watch the crosswalk tonight, Aug. 3, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to show that "our community is not full of hateful people." Barron estimated at least a dozen people would be keeping watch over the night.

Salmon Arm resident, 18-year-old Tai August, who identifies as part of the pride community, said the homophobic graffiti came as no surprise.

"Something needs to be done to drive the message that it's not the type of behaviour that is accepted here,” August said.

Salmon Arm RCMP Sgt. Scott Lachapelle said the investigation is ongoing but police have not received any tips from the public. Lachapelle said police were hoping someone in the community would come forward with information regarding the graffiti.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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