A rainbow crosswalk in Richmond’s city centre received almost unanimous support by council on Monday, with only Coun. Chak Au voting against it, saying the item came up out of the blue without consultation.
A report recommending the rainbow crossing as well as activities for Pride Week, July 29 to Aug. 4, was added to council’s committee agenda on Friday.
While Au said he’s supportive of the LGBTQ2S community, there was no time for wider consultation with the public for this permanent fixture.
“We have to be cautious and careful when we make a permanent change,” he said.
The rainbow crosswalk is proposed for Minoru Boulevard in front of the library and cultural centre in time for Pride Week to support the LGBTQ2S community.
Au said the creation of a rainbow crosswalk is a “specific action,” a political statement and a statement of values.
“This is a multicultural community with diverse values,” he said. Opposing it doesn’t mean someone is not accepting of the LGBTQ2S community, he said. There needs to be a “process to have a dialogue,” he added
Encouraging diversity and inclusion is one of the key objectives of the city’s social development strategy, outlined the council report.
The crosswalk is a busy pedestrian crossing and is located close to city hall, city hall annex, the school district office and the library.
The cost of painting the crosswalk is estimated at $15,000.
There will be a number of events during Pride Week throughout the city.
The motion on Pride Week and the rainbow crosswalk is expected to come back to council next week, and Au said he hopes it will be postponed for discussion.
“The report came forward at this time because we need to obtain council’s approval now in order to complete the proposed initiatives in time for Pride Week and details of the proposed program have only just been confirmed with our partners,” city spokesperson Ted Townsend explained.