A Burnaby councillor wants to see rainbow crosswalks painted at four prominent intersections in the city as a signal of acceptance and celebration of the LGBTQIA2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual/aromantic and two-spirit) community.
Coun. Dan Johnston presented a notice of motion at a Monday council meeting that, if passed at a future meeting, will direct staff to identify an intersection in each of Burnaby’s four quadrants where a Pride flag can be painted. He wants to see the first one painted before the city’s second annual Pride festival in August.
“I just think that this is 2019 and that we don't need to hide the issue,” Johnston told the NOW. “LGBT people should be part of our community, and it's time that we encourage them to be part of our community.”
The city painted a rainbow crosswalk on Jubilee Avenue last year, where it held the city’s first Pride Street Party. The crosswalk remains now, but Johnston said he wants to see others at busier intersections on roads such as Hastings Street, Kingsway, Edmonds Street, North Road or Lougheed Highway.
“I think it's time that we don't necessarily put (a rainbow crosswalk) on a quiet street that nobody even notices it’s there,” he said. “I think if we're going to do it, they should be in places where people can see them, enjoy them.”
Johnston said the crosswalks should funded by the city’s casino revenues, rather than property taxes. It cost Coquitlam roughly $10,000 to paint a rainbow crosswalk last year.
Burnaby has lagged behind its regional neighbours in celebrating Pride, Johnston said. Both New Westminster and Vancouver have had annual festivals for many years.
“I don't think there was any concerted effort to not have that recognized,” he said.
Johnston said Burnaby has traditionally been less centralized than its neighbours, but as Metrotown becomes more a downtown centre, people expect the community to have its own celebrations and festivals.
The motion is expected to be up for a vote at the next council meeting on May 27.