Members of Williams Lake Pride and supporters were happy Tuesday evening after city council endorsed their request for a rainbow sidewalk. City council voted in favour of the request and has referred the item to the public works committee to work with the Pride Committee on when and where it will go. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake city council unanimously approves rainbow crosswalk

Project has been referred to Public Works committee

Amidst much community discussion on social media sites, a rainbow crosswalk was unanimously approved by Williams Lake city council this week.

The proposal was brought to the city by members of the Williams Lake Pride Committee (WLPC)during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

The cost is estimated at around $2,200 by the committee, comparing it to the cost of a pride crosswalk installed in Burnaby, and includes money for upkeep.

“Our budget is probably the most expensive it could be, because there are a lot of costs in there that we might not have, but we don’t expect the City to provide us with any funding for this project,” said Willa Julius, WLPC president and founder.

Read more: Pride Committee hopes to install rainbow sidewalk in Williams Lake

Julius told council they are proposing three locations for the crosswalk — Oliver Street and Second Avenue, Oliver Street and First Avenue, or Borland Street and Fourth Avenue near the Central Cariboo Arts Centre.

“The arts centre is probably our most likely location due to it being supported by the group and there’s also a pride flag flown in that area,” Julius said.

All of the councillors in attendance at the meeting spoke in support of the motion.

The initial motion on the agenda was to simply receive the report presented by the Pride Committee and refer it on to the Public Works committee, however, Coun. Ivan Bonnell proposed to “strengthen” the motion with an amendment that council support the request and refer the matter to public works.

“I don’t want there to be any ambiguity,” Bonnell said. “We are in support of the request.”

While no site has been picked as of yet, the Public Works committee will be working with the Pride Committee on the location.

When Mayor Walt Cobb asked if there were any other possible sites the committee would be willing to consider, Julius replied, “yes.”

Coun. Craig Smith said in front of the arts centre would be his number one pick.

Coun. Jason Ryll thanked the committee for the presentation and said as a member of the public works committee he looked forward to working with the group.

Coun. Laurie Walters said “it’s time for this to happen.”

Councillors Scott Nelson and Sue Zacharias were not in attendance at the meeting.

Dozens of local residents attended the meeting to show their support and applauded loudly when the motion was passed.

School District 27 Supt. Mark Wintjes and Board of Education Chair Tanya Guenther were also present, and afterwards Wintjes told council they’d attended to show their support for the crosswalk.

The committee hopes the crosswalk will be installed by June 2019.

Have your say: Do you support the installation of a rainbow sidewalk in Williams Lake?

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