(Image courtesy Anita Hart at www.flickr.com/photos/anitakhart/9890603814)
COURTENAY, B.C- Another splash of colour is coming to the Comox Valley this summer.
According to Courtenay mayor Larry Jangula, the community will be getting a planned rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Duncan Avenue and 5th Street, after the municipal government finishes up spring cleaning.
The item was passed by council in October of 2017, and included in the budget for the following year.
The rainbow symbol has been a part of celebrating diversity since the late 1970’s when the colours were used in the flag for the Gay Pride Movement.
Crosswalks like this have been installed in communities across North America for years now, including communities on the Island like Campbell River. There are some concerns however, of vandalism.
Last summer, the Campbell River crosswalk was damaged by tire marks shortly after its installation. Campbell River’s municipal government also recently decided to prohibit non-standard crosswalks going forward.
The City of Courtenay has not had any similar policies come before council. However, Jangula did think it was a good idea.
“I mentioned my concern at the time (of the approval), when I voted against it,” said Jangula.
“I think it opens the door to all kinds of different crosswalks with all different kinds of configurations, and there is a huge cost, probably $1500 per crosswalk. The reality is they don’t last long, and they have to be replaced, and that expense comes in over and over again.”
Because of the number of colours, rainbow crosswalks cost about $1500 to install and an additional $1500 to refresh every year. According to city staff, a white stripped crosswalk costs $500 to install and $500 to refresh every year.
Jangula was the lone member of council against the installation.
However, the walk is a “done deal” for the future, according to him.
Work on the crosswalk is expected to start around early June.