I had the opportunity of attending the city council meeting June 8 and was appalled at council’s blatant disregard to public safety.
I heard council was presenting an idea that was brought forward to the mayor from CHSS Gay Straight Alliance and Prince Rupert Pride to repaint a cross walk in Cow Bay to look like a rainbow. Being that they were talking about public property I assumed that our elected officials would want to hear from the community. Boy was I mistaken. There were a few comments of support with Coun. Joy Thorkelson being the most vocal. I personally found her remarks to be attacking and accusatory. Unfortunately council voted for this to happen without considering that they might want to have some citizens’ voice on the matter.
I sat patiently thinking that one of our councillors or our mayor might bring up what I consider to be the most important reason for not approving this request. It has nothing to do with being tolerant or intolerant, but rather is solely based on the general public safety. I have my own beliefs that do not align with those of the rainbow community, however this is not what I believe is the heart of this issue.
As a certified safety professional I am concerned that pushing through personal agendas will have the potential to cause injuries. The Province of British Columbia has developed a Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for British Columbia. We have a standardization program for crosswalks throughout B.C. and the country and we have laws created in regards to vehicular traffic patterns and crosswalks. The standardization of crosswalks makes it very easy for the legal community to judge a drivers’ innocence or guilt should they strike a pedestrian within a crosswalk. As drivers we become habituated to certain patterns that are established for safety reasons. To mess with this method of safety standards simply is irresponsible and shows little regard to human safety and more regard for the support of a minority group or the desire to have some color added to public property.
Please consider the children within the community. They have enough to think about with regards to safety and how to cross the street. The standard crosswalk pattern is still foreign to some and we want to introduce new colors and patterns. Let’s step back and put our concerns for the children before our support for personal colour choices. I am not willing to sit back and have provincially and nationally standardized traffic and pedestrian safety patterns compromised.
In the end, this issue is not one of intolerant people as Thorkelson has suggested and she needs to consider public safety in the same manner and passion she places on housing density and lot sizes or housing for the seniors.
Martine Rose, Prince Rupert