Although the City of Surrey was expedient in installing a rainbow crosswalk after Mayor Linda Hepner made the decision to do so, it also hasn't taken long for the crosswalk to be defaced.
Hepner had made the decision on June 6 without council input, and it was installed on June 14.
Opponents had claimed expenses for the installation would cost up to $100,000 but actually cost $8,500 (in comparison to regular crosswalks, which cost $2,000). A letter-writing campaign against the colourful crossing had been launched by Surrey resident Tanya Gaw, a supporter of the right-wing activist group Culture Guard.
A booking at a New Westminster venue for a Christian youth event purporting to address LGBT issues was recently cancelled by the City of New Westminster after it was discovered that Culture Guard, which has been protesting the province's sexual orientation and gender orientation (SOGI) policy in schools, was involved.
The rainbow crossing was installed prior to the city's Pride parade and festivities, which will be held on June 30.
The crosswalk was discovered splattered with white paint, which was tracked on to the roadway as well, this past weekend.
City of Surrey engineering operations manager Ray Kerr told the Georgia Straight by phone that they received a report of the damage on June 24. He said that city staff started removing the paint with a high-pressure steam wand this morning (June 25) and that the cleanup should be completed soon.
Kerr explained that there is no additional cost to the city for the repairs as the crews regularly clean up grafitti. However, he expressed disappointment about the defacement of public property.
He confirmed that the RCMP has opened a file on the case.
Other rainbow crosswalks that have been vandalized include in Courtenay earlier this month, Fort Langley and Campbell River in 2017, and New Westminster in 2015, which was also splattered with white paint.
The vandalism has not deterred efforts in numerous cities and towns all across the province to install rainbow crosswalks as symbols of LGBT inclusion and visibility.