A rainbow is expected to form over a downtown intersection after council directed staff to research location, cost and engineering of a rainbow crosswalk in the city’s core.
On Tuesday, the Kamloops Pride organization requested support from council for a permanent rainbow crosswalk downtown.
“Really, it’s just to remind us to look out for those who are most vulnerable in our communities, just like pedestrians,” Kamloops Pride president Sam Numsen told council.
Rainbow crosswalks have become symbols of inclusion in the LGBTQ community.
Numsen said dozens of municipalities and organizations across the province have installed them.
One city council, however, rejected the idea. Last year, Merritt council rejected a proposal from the school district for a rainbow crosswalk at an intersection adjacent to the local high school. In response, community initiatives resulted in multiple rainbow crosswalks being created on private property.
Kamloops has three rainbow crosswalks: At Thompson Rivers University (installed in 2013), at Kamloops Airport (installed in 2018) and a recent addition at Lansdowne Village downtown.
However, Numsen said the proposed downtown rainbow crosswalk would be the first permanent one downtown on public land. The downtown location was also cited for accessibility and visibility.
Kamloops Pride is eyeing a high-traffic intersection, such as Third Avenue and Lansdowne Street or up by the Kamloops Farmers’ Market, at Third Avenue and St. Paul Street.
“Many events take place in the downtown core throughout the year,” Numsen said, noting the Pride Parade is also held downtown each August.
Talks with Kamloops Pride for a rainbow crosswalk downtown began in 2016. Asked what has taken so long, Numsen said the plan has taken on various iterations, noting the non-profit has had varying priorities over the years.
“What we’ve heard from the community is that it is something they’d like to see,” Numsen told KTW. “So that’s why we’ve been having these conversations over the years. We saw, obviously, there’s a change in folks at city council. We do have a letter of support from the KCBIA for the downtown rainbow crosswalk and the social planning council has also [endorsed] a recommendation from the now-defunct diversity advisory committee. These things are slow going.”
Council voted unanimously to direct staff to bring back a report on the matter.
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian noted city council vision includes “inclusivity.”
City staff have pegged the cost of a rainbow crosswalk to be $10,000. It is unclear whether the crosswalk could be installed in time for the August Pride Parade.