The Williams Lake Pride Committee could soon be bringing a little more colour to city streets.
The committee will be making a presentation at City Council on Tuesday evening (July 12) about their hope to install a rainbow crosswalk at an intersection in Williams Lake.
The committee has their eyes set on a crossing near the courthouse square or beside the art centre, but they’re looking to City Council for approval.
“What we need is the okay to go ahead,” said Willa Julius, current president of the pride committee.
The group has plans to fundraise and pay the cost of installation themselves, if they do get the stamp of approval from the city, but are also looking to the future. Part of their presentation to city council will see them discuss if they or the city itself will be responsible for the upkeep of the crosswalk.
Julius said the rainbow crosswalk is one of the first goals set by the Williams Lake Pride Committee, which was founded in Williams Lake last November.
“We do have a flag that we fly during Pride month, which is great, but it would be great to have something that is there year round for visibility for the community. It’s a reminder that people who are part of the community exist in Williams Lake and that it is a safe space for people in town or outside of Williams Lake that are part of the LGBTQ+ community.”
LGBTQ+ is a common acronym used to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning and other members of the pride community.
Reaction to the idea has been mixed so far, said Julius.
“I’ve heard a lot of people quite excited and very supportive of the project, who think it is a great idea and will add a bit of colour. We’ve had a few reactions where people think it’s not worth it or that it has too much upkeep.”
The presentation to city council will include a bit of history behind Pride and rainbow sidewalks, as well as research on the associated costs. The group has made a budget based on the cost of Burnaby’s crosswalk.
Julius said the budged varies depending on the paint, whether the city or the community paints it itself, and who does the upkeep.
If they do get the go-ahead, Julius said they will aim to install the sidewalk by next June, due to organizing and fundraising costs.
For the future, the committee is also planning on participating in the Stampede Parade, and have monthly meetings for community members and allies. For more information, Julius said to follow Williams Lake Pride on Facebook or Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If interested in supporting the project, Julius encourages members of the public and allies to come out to council on July 12 at 6 p.m., or to send council members an email so they know the idea is supported in the community.
“I’m absolutely excited. It will bring a great splash of colour to Williams Lake and it is a great way to provide visibility.”