Ladysmith is looking at the cost of a rainbow-coloured crosswalk similar to the one seen here in Nanaimo.

Ladysmith is looking at the cost of a rainbow-coloured crosswalk similar to the one seen here in Nanaimo.

Town looks at cost of rainbow crosswalk

The Town of Ladysmith is exploring potential areas for a rainbow crosswalk as it also aims to embrace greater community diversity.

The Town of Ladysmith is exploring potential areas for a rainbow crosswalk as it also aims to craft guiding principles to embrace greater community diversity.

“We had a of couple incidents in our community over the last few months that showed me that for all of the broad inclusivity that we have in our community there are still bigoted people in ever community,” said Mayor Aaron Stone at a recent municipal services meeting.

“I don’t think we should be under the illusions that will ever go away completely but the response to those bigoted actions was almost worse than the initial bigotry that happened.”

Several motions were pass and affirmed again by city council at a meeting in December.

They include directing staff to research a location and costs for a rainbow crosswalk in the community, as well as a request of staff to develop a draft Diversity Proclamation.

Stone said the goal is to promote conversation and create a space where people can express their opinions without feeling like they’ll be shamed.

“I think we need to get to a place where we actually talk about these things and say you know what, I have space and time for you to feel the way you feel…but we have to make it a safe and inclusive place for everybody,” he said.

Ladysmith staff will also explore similar inclusivity documents in other communities such as Victoria.

Councillors also agreed that diversity and inclusion be a topic on the next joint meeting between the officials from the town and School District 68.

The City of Nanaimo installed rainbow-coloured crosswalks on Commercial Street late last spring at an estimated cost of $2,500.

Coun. Duck Paterson told the Chronicle he thought there was more appropriate steps the town could take then painting an section of the street that people can throw cigarettes and gum onto.

“It makes a statement but I hope that there would be something better that we could do that involves people,” he said.

“If you have benches or a park all people can sit down and discuss their opinions. That is more respectful to me than driving on top of something.”

The rainbow crosswalk in Nanaimo is nearby where Coun. Steve Arnett works as CEO of the Nanaimo Youth Services Association.

“The price is so high that young people pay that this is just a really good discussion to have,” he said, asking that Ladysmith youth be consulted by staff before bringing back a report.

“As long as it’s out on the table that people are talking about it there will be a day that we won’t have to talk about it at least to the extent that we are now.”