The Township is trying pressure washing to clean tire marks off the new rainbow crosswalk in Fort Langley. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Langley’s rainbow crosswalk causes a storm

The crosswalk was painted Sept. 14 and vandalized about a day later.

Langley Township will attempt to pressure wash the tire marks laid down over the weekend on the new rainbow crosswalk in Fort Langley.

The Township is working with the contractor to see how to clean the new rainbow crosswalk that was painted Sept. 14.

If the tire tracks have damaged the crosswalk, the rainbow would have to be repainted.

“I see the vandalism as a call for discussion. A call to open minds and open hearts,” said resident and artist Elaine Brewer-White. “It could have been done by one sad individual, but somehow I feel there is a larger undercurrent of discrimination and hate that still exists.”

She’s been contacted by several people upset by the vandalism and is one of the community members who worked to fund the crosswalk.

“Sadly, it’s quite common for these crosswalks to be vandalized when they are painted. The vandalism is childish behaviour done by a small few who felt threatened. People who don’t know any better. People who’s first motivation is hate,” Brewer-White commented.

Community residents lobbied for the crosswalk.

In 2016 the Township dismissed installing a rainbow crosswalk due to the estimated price tag of $50,000 (all four crossing of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road).

Brewer-White said the Township used an inflated price in rejecting the request.

Several local artists contributed to an autumn 2016 auction fundraiser. There was also a GoFundMe campaign. These brought in more than $6,200.

The Fort Langley BIA contributed the other half of the cost, so there was no cost to the Township, Brewer-White noted.

“Important to note other recent rainbow crosswalks such as Maple Ridge’s cost under $6,000 and was twice as wide,” she added.

She noted that the rainbow symbolizes inclusion and diversity.

“The rainbow is a universal symbol of love, and the colours represent diversity,” she said. “By painting this symbol on pavement, it signifies that this is a loving, inclusive community, which welcomes people of all races, religions, and sexual orientations.”

Brewer-White said Canada is the best country in the world because “we understand and celebrate diversity.”

“Sure, I’m sad about the destruction, but it’s only made me more defiant than ever,” she said, adding, “I, for one, refused to be cowed by this childish act of vandalism.”

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