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City of Prince Rupert approves rainbow-coloured crosswalk in Cow Bay

The City of Prince Rupert is recognizing its LGTBQ community and showcasing its inclusiveness by painting a rainbow-coloured crosswalk.
The Charles Hays Secondary School Gay Straight Alliance are excited a rainbow-coloured crosswalk is being painted in Prince Rupert. Pictured are the group's leaders Carrie Thorpe

The City of Prince Rupert is recognizing its LGTBQ community and showcasing its inclusiveness by painting a rainbow-coloured crosswalk in Cow Bay.

Prince Rupert city council approved a request from community groups to paint the crosswalk in front of Atlin Terminal rainbow-colours , following in the footsteps of Vancouver and its colourful crossings at the intersection of Davie and Bute streets.

"It signifies the support of our community for a diversified and tolerate position," said Coun. Joy Thorkelson.

Applying the rainbow design is expected to cost $1,800 because of the numerous colours and amount of paint being used, with the estimated price tag of painting a regular crosswalk being about $300.

Christine Danroth, an openly lesbian mother and local LGTBQ rights advocate, was pleased with council's decision, stating the colourful crosswalk will send a message of equality and acceptance in Prince Rupert.

"I'm very excited for the youth in our community because we have quite a few ... who are in the LGBT spectrum. I think it's a really positive gesture for them," she said.

It was Danroth who prompted the request by a Facebook post she made in May posing the question of rainbow crosswalks in Prince Rupert.

"When it was blowing up on social media, Mayor Lee Brain and I started talking and he seemed pretty excited about the idea," she said.

Brain met with members of the Charles Hays Secondary School Gay Straight Alliance, a group Danroth runs alongside teacher Paul Paling and community member Carrie Thorpe, and individuals from Prince Rupert Pride and brought the idea to social media for feedback.

While many supported the idea, others were concerned about safety and the cost, stating money should be spent on repairing roads and sidewalks. Brain said the crossing will be marked with signage and outlined in white paint, and noted the city added an additional $1 million to its roads and sidewalks budget for the year.

Many councillors spoke in favour of the request when it came before council on June 8, including Coun. Blair Mirau who punned it's time Prince Rupert took "pride" in its moniker the "City of Rainbows".

"It's a really powerful statement we can send with a very little amount of money," he said.

Coun. Wade Niesh said he had no issue with the intention of a rainbow crossing, but said it isn't something the city should pay for.

"This just can't be looked at as $1,800 for one year, this is going to be $1,800 a year, every year," said Niesh, who was the only people to vote against the request.

The City of Prince Rupert set up an account at city hall to collect donations for the rainbow crosswalk, so the city doesn't have to use funds from its public works budget. Currently, there is not a start date for the project.