Surrey installs rainbow crosswalk ahead of Pride celebrations
Some cities take months between approving rainbow crosswalks and installing them. Surrey took eight days.
The city’s first rainbow crosswalk was painted June 14 at Old Yale Road and University Drive, ahead of the city’s annual Pride celebration.
Mayor Linda Hepner made the decision on June 6 without council input, after being inspired by the rainbow crosswalk in New Westminster.
“On my way to my TransLink meetings I see this crosswalk in New Westminster and I thought, you know what? I actually like the way it looks and the message it delivered around inclusivity. It was frankly my idea,” she told the Now-Leader. "It delivers a message I think we as a city we should delivering, and that is of inclusivity. When you look at 102 languages spoken here in our city, that rainbow sidewalk has gone way beyond just being an original LGBTQ sidewalk and it represents now a message of inclusiveness and I think in a city that as diverse as ours, that that is a critical message.”
The crosswalk cost $8,500 and should last for five years, according to city council. Regular crosswalks cost $2,000 and last for three to five years.
However, not everyone was happy about the decision. The council received a number of emails stating the $8,500 price tag was unrealistic, and that the crossroad would actually cost $50,000, which would be an unfair use of city money.
The figure seemed to refer to a Langley Times article which estimated four rainbow crossings at $50,000. Langley later installed one rainbow crosswalk, costing around $12,000.
“I think it’s a message of hate camouflaged by an issue of cost,” Hepner said. She added, according to Global News, that she considers it “a completely intolerant message".
While there has been a recent spate of vandalism targeting rainbow crosswalks, Hepner was undeterred.
"I have no patience. I hope that doesn’t happen here,” she told the Now-Leader.
Surrey Pride will take place on June 30 at Holland Park, next to where the crosswalk was installed.
Other rainbow crosswalks can be found across the Lower Mainland in Vancouver, Squamish, Maple Ridge, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Whistler, and on the campuses of the University of the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (Burnaby).