Nathan Pachal

Langley City could fly the rainbow flag starting in 2017

The municipality is looking at a flag policy amendment.

Langley City could be a more colourful place next year after council agreed to amend the community flag policy.

Councillor Nathan Pachal put forward a motion at the July 25 council meeting to amend the policy to have the rainbow flag flown for one week during summer when Pride activities take place around the region and nation.

“The City of Langley is an inclusive and diverse community that acknowledges and respects all people regardless of their colour, race, region, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability,” he said in making the motion.

It calls for the flag of the LGBTQ community to be flown as a “symbol of inclusiveness and diversity.”

“It’s about time,” Councillor Rudy Storteboom said.

Coun. Gayle Martin said the policy should not single out a particular flag as there are various community groups with flags.

“I do take exception to bringing sort of personal agendas and requests to this council from one member of council,” she said.

She said she would like to see a rainbow flag flying request coming from the community, not council.

“It is not a personal agenda,” said Coun. Val van den Broek.

She worked with Pachal on this and he presented it as a newbie on council.

She added that the rainbow flag is recognized by the United Nations as a symbol of human rights.

Van den Broek added that she has brought up issues of interest before council, pointing to her request for the City to do a rainbow crosswalk, which was not approved due to cost.

Maple Ridge is one of the latest communities to have Pride events, recently installing a rainbow crosswalk for about $6,000 and hosting a Pride picnic.

“This is a policy issue, not a rainbow flag issue,” Martin emphasized.

Council voted to revise the policy.

Staff will craft a revised flag policy for next spring which must come to council for approval.

Other related motions Pachal was going to make – for the City to create a courtesy flagpole for community flags and to spend $300 from the Council Enterprise Fund to buy a rainbow flag – were dropped.

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