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Council considering rainbow crosswalk

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The colours of the rainbow may be coming to one of the city’s crosswalks, although details of a potential plan remain unclear.

PFLAG Durham, an advocacy group for members of the LGBTQ community, recently asked city council to consider installing a rainbow crosswalk in recognition of Pride Week.

The organization has made similar requests across Durham.

Thus far, the only municipality to do so is Clarington.

The rainbow crosswalk in Bowmanville was recently vandalized by unknown person(s).

At a recent meeting, Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson brought forth a motion asking for a staff report on the installation of a rainbow crosswalk in Oshawa.

If approved, Nicholson asked for the crosswalk to be in place in time for Canada Day on July 1.

“I can’t think of a better day to open this other than Canada Day. It sends a clear, inclusive message to our community, especially to our community that is asking for the crosswalk,” he said.

Noting his family has been personally impacted by reactions to people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender, Nicholson said it would be “a symbol of reconciliation, a symbol of respect and a symbol of inclusion.”

While acknowledging some people may not be in favour, Nicholson questioned how a rainbow crosswalk could truly offend anyone.

“It’s not going to stop traffic…people aren’t going to change their behaviour or sexuality by crossing it,” he said.

Ward 4 regional councillor Rick Kerr suggested a crosswalk near the Robert McLaughlin Gallery as a suitable location, but Nicholson argued this wasn’t appropriate.

“You don’t hide that message. You don’t tuck it on some road behind city hall behind a parking lot,” he said. “Put it near city hall’s main entrance across from Athol Street.”

Meanwhile, Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey said Canada Day is already jam-packed with events, and the importance of the crosswalk may get lost in the shuffle if opened that day.

Council tabled the motions on the timeline and location for discussion at a future meeting.