The original Rainbow Crossing on Oxford St at Taylor Square.

The original Rainbow Crossing on Oxford St at Taylor Square.

Council pondering rainbow crosswalk

The City of Penticton hasn’t quite joined in the rainbow crosswalk movement, but it featured prominently in recent discussions.

The City of Penticton hasn’t quite joined in the rainbow crosswalk movement, but it featured prominently in discussions of inclusivity at council’s Aug. 17 meeting.

Councillors at times seemed unsure whether adding a rainbow crosswalk to the city’s inventory was the goal, or if they were looking at a wider range of options.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit noted this conversation about rainbow crosswalks is happening in communities up and down the Okanagan Valley.

“Kelowna has actually installed a rainbow crosswalk, Summerland is looking into doing that,” said Jakubeit, who wasn’t sure what direction Penticton should take. “Is it a rainbow crosswalk, or is it something bigger or more engaging?”

Coun. Tarik Sayeed, was one of the proponents of creating a rainbow crosswalk, at least as a beginning.

“A crosswalk  would be one of them. In terms of cost, I don’t think it would cost a lot,” said Sayeed, who suggested council members could get out and join in helping staff paint a crosswalk as a team-building experience.

Sayeed said he had been in conversation with Summerland’s chief administrative officer Linda Tynan and he felt a crosswalk could be done with minimal effort.

“A crosswalk could be a start, but let’s give it back to staff members and see what they come back with, and for 2016, we can look even bigger, like maybe City Hall,” said Sayeed.

Other councillors suggested that city staff should be directed to look at what other communities around the world are doing to demonstrate inclusivity, beyond rainbow crosswalks.

“When you walk into city hall now, you do see the welcome in many different languages. There is a lot we can do, but that is a step in the right direction for city hall,” said Coun. Helena Konanz. “I would support a rainbow crosswalk, but I would also support staff looking into what is being done throughout the world.”

Jakubeit also agreed a rainbow crosswalk would be a start.

“I think we need to look broader too, to minorities and multicultural, not just the LGBTQ community, but this is a good first step,” he said.

Council voted unanimously to direct staff to explore options to demonstrate inclusivity and report back.