Editorial: Making rainbow connection a costly endeavour

What began as an effort to express solidarity with the victims of the horrific Florida night club massacre took a rather sharp and unexpected turn this week.

Artist Elaine Brewer-White appeared before council earlier this summer, offering to paint a rainbow crosswalk at the corner of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue in Fort Langley, as a show of solidarity with the local LGBTQ community.

She had the paint and the volunteer labour needed to carry out the project, at little to no cost to the municipality. All she required was permission.

If only bureaucracy worked like that.

On Monday, council heard that to install the crosswalk in keeping with federal transportation guidelines, would cost a whopping $50,000. That money would pay for not one, but the required four crossings, all of it done in a particular grade of paint.

Colour us surprised.

While we get that there are standards to be met, we’re not convinced that having only one rainbow at a four-crossing intersection would create confusion and havoc among pedestrians.

However, those are the rules.

If the mixed reaction to the decision to occasionally fly a rainbow flag at Langley City Hall is any indication, not everyone is going to be on board with a crosswalk.

And that’s fine. Living in a democracy means we are free to have and (respectfully) express our own opinions.

We support the crosswalk as an important symbol of inclusiveness. But we can’t recommend spending half the municipality’s traffic calming budget for the year. There are simply too many other projects that urgently require funding — particularly in Langley’s expanding Willoughby neighbourhood.

A privately funded single crosswalk, a block south of the Mavis intersection, as has now been proposed, appears to be the perfect solution.

So it is our hope that  individuals and businesses who would like to see Langley follow the example of several other communities — including New Westminster and Maple Ridge — will step up and support the artist’s fundraising efforts.

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