Chilliwack city council rejects request for rainbow crosswalk, calling it ‘divisive’

Downtown Chilliwack will not be getting a rainbow crosswalk after Chilliwack city council struck down the idea in a near-unanimous vote Tuesday.

All but one councilor, Jason Lum, voted against the plan to paint the crosswalk in the colours of LGBTQ2 pride.

Amber Price, with Chilliwack Citizens For Change, collected nearly 800 signatures calling for the crosswalk.

“I think it’s disappointing but it wasn’t unexpected,” Price said Wednesday. “The divisiveness in our community has been here for a long time.”

Despite the number of signatures collected, most of the councillors were not moved.

“I’ve always taken the task of spending taxpayer dollars very seriously, and this is not an appropriate use of taxpayers dollars,” Coun. Sue Knott said during Tuesday night’s council meeting.”

Other councillors said painting a rainbow crosswalk in the community would be “divisive.”

“For me, is, where would it end?” said Coun. Bud Mercer.

The city passed a policy directive in 2017 that forbids decorating crosswalks in a way that “support[s] political or religious movements or commercial entities.”

Lum told those in council chambers he was “disheartened by the community that we live in.”

“But it has also identified that we have a long long way to go to understand tolerance,” he added.

Only weeks ago two rainbow crosswalks were installed on First Nations land in the city, at Eagle Landing Mall.

Price said she’s not done fighting for the crosswalk, and is hopeful change will come soon.

“Our higher authority hasn’t set the precedents of inclusion, respect and diversity,” she said. “I think that needs to be set by the people who are in authority so that becomes the bottom line.”

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