In the spirit of inclusivity, and just in time for pride month, Councillor Phil St-Jean put forward a resolution during the latest Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting seeking support for two rainbow crosswalks in Picton. The multi-coloured crosswalks are to be painted across from Metro and the Crystal Palace.
The crosswalks in question are being funded entirely by PEC Partners and are a project initiated by the Picton Business Improvement Association (BIA).
In seeking support for his resolution, St-Jean read a letter from the Picton BIA, outlining the benefit of having these symbols of inclusivity on either end of town.
“Picton is unique from other communities in the County in that it has a real, functioning downtown where all residents are able to meet all their needs from shopping, services, recreation and entertainment,” wrote Alexandra Bake, Vice Chair of the Picton BIA. “Picton BIA is strongly supportive of every effort to support inclusion and acceptance to all members of the community, so Picton remains a rounded and livable community…The addition of rainbow crosswalks would go a long way to show we welcome all who live and visit here.”
St-Jean implored council to support the resolution, citing neighbouring cities that have already implemented rainbow crosswalks. He also emphasized that the crosswalks would be painted at no cost to the municipality.
“I would urge council to support this resolution as it is not going to cost the municipality anything. It is being funded solely from contributions from PEC Partners. Please support this. Let’s show our pride in this community,” he urged.
Councillor Stewart Bailey, while in support of the resolution, expressed concern the crosswalks might fall prey to vandalism.
“I’d suggest we make certain whatever material we use to paint is fairly sturdy,” said Bailey. “I’d be severely disappointed if anyone was able to vandalize this.”
Speaking to the product intended for the crosswalks was Director of Operations, Adam Goheen. He noted the municipality had originally intended to procure a durable, thermal plastic type product. However, this type of material was unattainable. Given the immediate nature of the project, it was decided paint should be used.
“This will not be a permanent, plastic type material,” stated Goheen.
Councillor Andreas Bolik offered what he described as a word of caution, noting the municipality has known pride month occurs in June but still is scrambling to complete this project.
“A word of caution: this is brought up as an urgent situation and pride month is every June. Here we are at the end of May, suddenly panicking to do something,” said Bolik. “I’m sure Director Goheen has the wherewithal to get the right product, but when we start rushing into things, there’s unintended consequences. It would be nice if we would take time to come to these decisions, rather than rush them at the end.”
Providing more background information on the resolution, Councillor St- Jean informed COTW that the project arose after PEC Partners offered to fund a project of interest for the Picton BIA.
“This whole conversation came up when PEC Partners did a presentation at the April 27 BIA meeting and offered to contribute up to $2,500 for a project that was important to the BIA. There was discussion about outreach to the other BIAs, but the donation was specific to Picton BIA, so that is why it was suggested for just those two crosswalks. The BIA would certainly be interested in having that conversation with other business areas,” St-Jean explained.
While it was noted the crosswalk paint will fade, Councillor Phil Prinzen inquired as to who is responsible for the upkeep.
“Who is responsible for maintaining this? PEC Partners?” asked Prinzen.
Ultimately, Goheen reminded council that any decision regarding upkeep is the responsibility of council.
“This is a council decision. We don’t paint this sort of crosswalk currently and it does represent a change to that. It’s up to council to direct us to continue that service or find an alternative,” Goheen stated.