Battleford now sports a new rainbow crosswalk right across from the town hall to get an early start on Pride Week celebrations.
The local LGBTQ pride events this month are once again being organized by the Battlefords and Area Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Kelly Waters, who sits on the 2018 Pride organizing committee, said volunteers came together Thursday evening to create the multi-coloured stripes on the crosswalk. The non-permanent paint for the project was donated, and she said some members of the Town of Battleford's council, as well as volunteers from across the Battlefords area and Turtleford, took part in the project.
"That was so inspiring," Waters said of seeing so many people help with the crosswalk. "I love it. That's awesome."
About 15 people took part in the volunteer effort to create the crosswalk. The Town of Battleford previously approved the rainbow crosswalk project and a request to raise the Pride flag outside the town hall building to recognize the event. The town raised the Pride flag Thursday.
Battleford Mayor Ames Leslie, who helped paint the Battleford rainbow crosswalk, said he saw a few people on the social media complaining about plans for the rainbow crosswalk in the town. As a result, he posted a statement to Facebook saying if anyone had any issues about the rainbow crosswalk project, they should contact him directly to discuss the matter.
“After I put that statement out on social media asking people why they have such an in-depth issue with the crosswalk, nobody has contacted me," Leslie said. "I think a lot of people were trying to bully their way through the situation and once they were called out about it they kind of backed off.
The mayor said some people threatened to deface or vandalize the crosswalk, so the RCMP conducted some patrols overnight to make sure there were no incidents.
"Maybe some cooler heads prevailed through the evening and they thought better of coming through and vandalizing the crosswalk,” the mayor said. "I got a positive response this morning that the crosswalk wasn’t vandalized overnight so that is a very positive aspect."
Leslie said there was no charge to the town for the rainbow crosswalk project and he took painted one of the stripes himself on Thursday.
"It was good to see the town involvement and the amount of volunteers out there to make this crosswalk a reality," said Leslie. "It shows we truly walk the walk and do what we say we are going to do, and support the Pride community in the Battlefords."
Volunteers are also planning to create a rainbow crosswalk in North Battleford Aug. 12.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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