Supporters of a rainbow crosswalk in Chilliwack’s downtown will likely have to wait until September to see their proposal come before city council.
But they already have one key supporter: Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove.
The group presented Popove with a 750-name petition on Friday, along with 100 letters of support from citizens and businesses calling for the creation of a rainbow crosswalk.
The idea of a rainbow crosswalk is nothing new as cities across North America have embraced the idea as a way of demonstrating acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTQ community. But it has also proved controversial with some quite opposed to the idea, usually based on religious reasons.
Still, the 15 people who brought the petition to city hall Friday remain hopeful.
Eryne Croquet, one member of the colourful procession that made its way to city hall, said support is growing.
“Horns honked, people waved and people smiled when we walked the block with our flags,” said Croquet. “People don’t just want a rainbow crosswalk – they are excited for it!”
The group was greeted by Mayor Popove, who shook their hands and offered his encouragement.
Last to greet the mayor was organizer Amber Price. She presented him with a rainbow coloured binder containing 750 signatures, and over 100 letters of support from citizens and businesses for the creation of a rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Mill Street and Wellington Avenue.
“It was a powerful experience to pass our petition binder to Mayor Popove,” said Price. “We kept our presenting group relatively small, but we carried the voices of hundreds who support the project with us.”
Popove is among those who has voiced support. He signed the petition at a Party In The Park several weeks ago.
He told the group that given the summer schedule, the petition probably won’t be part of the council agenda until September.
Nonetheless, organizers were buoyed by the meeting.
“It was a very uplifting experience,” said Chelsea Cromarty. “Made my heart soar. I’m excited to see where things go.”
A digital copy was also sent to city council members within an hour of its delivery to City Hall. A short video of the binder is available to watch in the “Rainbow Crosswalk for Chilliwack” group on Facebook.
Said Price: “We await the next step with hope in our hearts.”