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Salmon Arm council approves rainbow crosswalk

Salmon Arm city council gave the proposed rainbow crosswalk the green light at their January 15 meeting.

The crosswalk will be located on Fifth Street SW near the Blackburn Park skate park.

Coun. Ken Jamieson spoke in favour of locating the crosswalk near Blackburn Park because there are already crosswalks in place so there will be no change in traffic pattern and because of its proximity to the stop sign at the end of the block.

Coun. Chad Eliason suggested painting all four crosswalks on the Fifth Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW section rainbow coloured.

“Sometimes public art has to be introduced gradually,” said Councillor Louise Wallace Richmond.

Coun. Kevin Flynn raised a safety concern with the possibility of putting rainbow crosswalks on Fifth Avenue SW, where there are no stop signs. He referred to an earlier staff report which said some motorists may not immediately recognize the rainbow crosswalks are crosswalks.

Council unanimously approved the crosswalk located near the skate park and left it up to city staff’s discretion what paint or other finish would be used within a budget of $2,000.

In a report given to mayor and council before the meeting, city staff note rainbow crosswalks are made up of eight colours, each with a symbolic representation.

These include: pink for sexuality, red for respect for all life, orange for healing journeys within all walks of life, yellow representing sunshine and air quality, green for the importance of environment and nature, turquoise for the arts, blue for peace and harmony and violet for spirituality.

“Rainbow crosswalks have become a simple, economical, physical way for Canadian cities to express support for diverse, inclusive communities,” said Dustyn Baulkham, president of the Okanagan Pride Society to Black Press in regards to crosswalks already in place in Vernon and Kelowna.

While the rainbow has become an international symbol associated with the LGBTQ movement, Baulkham says the symbolism extends beyond sexuality.

“This is about diversity and inclusiveness and the crosswalks are a reflection of the communities in which we all live today,” added Baulkham.

Jim Elliot

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