The Langley City councillor who wants a rainbow flag to honour diversity said the idea was proposed as a cost-effective alternative to a crosswalk.
Nathan Pachal said the city was recently looking at installing a rainbow crosswalk near city hall, but a staff assessment found the project would cost several thousands of dollars, money that would have to come out of city contingency funds because of the timing.
“It’s a lot of money for our community at this time,” Pachal said.
“It just wasn’t in the budget.”
Pachal expects the notion of a rainbow crosswalk could be discussed again when the city begins planning next year’s budget.
In the meantime, Pachal said the proposed rainbow flag for Langley City will send the same message of acceptance and inclusion to people of colour and “sexual minorities” who are often victims of discrimination and abuse.
Pachal said it is an important message in the wake of the recent violence in the U.S., in particular the June 12 massacre of patrons at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded in what is considered a terrorist attack and a hate crime.
“To say that, as a municipality, we care for all our people is huge,” Pachal said.
“Let’s do something positive.”
The Pachal proposal would amend the city flag-raising policy to have the rainbow flag flown for one week in June or July.
When the idea was put to a vote (on July 25), a majority of council backed the idea, with Coun. Rudy Storteboom saying it was “about time” and Coun. Val van den Broek saying the city needs to be “inclusive for everyone.”
Councillor Gayle Martin said she was concerned about making a decision about a flag for a particular group in the community when that group hasn’t made a request to the city.
“This is a policy issue,” Martin said.
“I have no problem with flying the rainbow flag (if there is a request from outside council).”
Staff are now reviewing the proposal and will report back before a final decision is made, likely some time this fall.