A heated debate was had at the weekly town council meeting due to the new proposed location of the Pride crosswalk. Strathmore town council approved the installation of a Pride crosswalk to be placed along Thomas Drive to commemorate the first Pride parade held in Strathmore in early July and since then the location has changed.
A downtown location offers higher foot traffic, which allows more people to use and see the crosswalk on a daily basis. In addition, the administration identified potential challenges associated with the proposed Thomas location due to ownership of the land.
Town council had met with Skatemore Girls, Wheatland Youth Network, and the Prospect Human Services and came to a resolution to place the crosswalk at the Municipal Building on the north entrance off of Park Lane Dr and that caused a debate with the councillors at last nights meeting.
Councillor Jason Montgomery raised the concern that the location of the crosswalk by the town hall is just setting up the community for disaster. He said it is already known that those crosswalks get worn out fast and get damaged
"We're kind of setting ourselves up for a problem. We already know to some extent that this crosswalk even without the rainbow on it sees some extent of damage from people driving on it. So 2 weeks ago, somebody could do a burnout on that and it's fine, sort of. But then two weeks from now, somebody does a burnout and now that is looked at as a hate crime?" Montgomery said.
Montgomery then goes on to ask maybe it would be possible to change the location of the crosswalk to somewhere else that isn't as heavy with traffic flow and a place where it would be easier to repair or adjust if something were to happen to it.
Councillor Brent Wiley believes that by trying to celebrate and affirm people who identify as LGBTQIA+ they might be accidentally creating a government-approved social class.
"Remembering Canada individuals have rights to paint their own driveways, and fly flags on their cars, but the government must not. I'm afraid our municipality is honouring, celebrating and affirming one class of residents while censoring and silencing another."
Councillor Denise Peterson replied to Wiley by first explaining that her belief system is everything that she does, and said that she just so firmly believes the communities are for everyone regardless of how they identify.
"When it comes to the crosswalk, visibility and inclusivity are critically important to marginalized groups and a pride crosswalk should serve as a visible symbol of support and inclusivity and it sends a message that this community is valued and it's accepted."
Peterson believes the Pride crosswalk will inspire hope, and that it encourages and fulfills advocacy that responsible officials, and elected officials have an obligation to to speak to in every instance.
After a back-and-forth between council the new location of where it was to be placed was supported by the majority of council members.
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