The Municipality of Meaford will soon offer an expression of inclusion at the intersection of Trowbridge and Sykes Streets after Council voted unanimously in favour of a plan to establish a rainbow crosswalk at the location.
In recent months a number of local municipalities have adopted rainbow crosswalks, including Owen Sound and Collingwood.
The traditional pride flag was designed in 1978 and the original six colours represented Life (red), Healing (orange), Sunlight (yellow), Nature (green), Harmony (blue), and Spirit (purple). In recent years the traditional pride flag has been modified to include representation for people of colour (black/brown), and the transgender community (white/pink/blue).
In a report to Council, municipal staff advised that with the current reconstruction of Trowbridge Street, it is an opportune time for such an installation.
“The Municipality of Meaford is commencing the reconstruction of the Trowbridge Parking Lot and resurfacing of Trowbridge Street from Sykes to Bayfield Street. This project will also include accessible parking on Trowbridge at the library,” staff advised. “Staff are aware that many municipalities are establishing Progress Pride Flag Rainbow Crosswalks and consider this to be the ideal opportunity to establish same in Meaford based on the reconstruction. The proposed Rainbow Crosswalk would be located on the eastern portion of the intersection of Sykes and Trowbridge Streets.”
The work will be completed as part of this year’s municipal line painting contract and the estimated $8,500 cost will be funded by the 2021 contracted services operating budget.
“Through many objectives and programs in place, the Municipality of Meaford has committed to an ever-increasing pathway to inclusion. This means inclusive recognition of all communities within our broader community. The recently completed Community Safety & Well-Being Plan identifies a guiding Principle being Inclusive: ensure the Plan considers all residents of the Municipality of Meaford in both its development and implementation. The plan must consider the unique and varying needs of our residents on both an individual and systematic level,” staff advised Council. “The installation of rainbow crosswalks shows support for diversity and is a symbol of inclusivity in the community. Staff believe this location is an ideal location for a rainbow crosswalk as it is a direct connection to our Municipal library, which is a community hub. It is also a very prominent and visible location, where many residents and visitors will traverse to access the downtown business, the library, and to attend special events held at Meaford Hall.”
Members of Council offered unanimous support for the proposed rainbow crosswalk.
“This is going to be very well received, and appreciated by our residents and visitors,” said Deputy Mayor Shirley Keaveney.
Councillor Paul Vickers expressed support for the initiative, and he suggested that a plaque could be installed at the intersection to explain the meanings of the colours, and he also asked staff if any similar initiative was in the works in support of Canada’s indigenous people.
“Reading the report I learned a lot about what all of the different colours meant. Is there any way of putting up a plaque that could educate people that might not understand what it’s all about?” asked Vickers. Staff advised that educating residents is an important part of the initiative, and a plaque could be installed. “Was there ever any thought about doing something for the indigenous people?”
Staff advised that they are looking at options to express inclusion and support for the indigenous community for next year, including a potential joint initiative with Grey County.
Once the work is completed, staff advised Council that an official unveiling event will be held.
“The intent is to have an official unveiling of the crosswalk, signifying the Municipality’s commitment to an inclusive community. A media release and social media announcements will be prepared celebrating the event and installation of the rainbow crosswalk. The crosswalk will be used to help and raise awareness overall of the LGBTQ+ people and their families, friends in the community,” staff advised Council.