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Burlington Council Approves More Rainbow Crosswalks Across City in Support of 2SLGBTQIA+ Community

STOCK_Rainbow_Crosswalk_Lakeshore and west of Brant_Cleanedup_02

*Administrator’s Note: Burlington City Council approved this motion by a 4-3 majority vote at its June 22 meeting. To view a recording of the discussion at Council, please click here.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

This is worth every penny to signal to our community that we are a welcoming and inclusive community. These crosswalks are for everyone. The discussion of having crosswalks around schools from the public came last year, after we installed our first Rainbow Crosswalk. The dialogue for around the need here came from the community and well before the decision of HCDSB trustees surrounding raising the Pride flag. The locations were populated in part by the working group that included a number of stakeholders.

This has been a truly community-drive and organic process from the beginning. It has been extensively discussed in our community. We will fund three this year, and consider three more next year, to be discussed during upcoming budget deliberations, for a total of six over two years. I wholeheartedly support this and I don’t think we should stop at six.

What we value as a community is what we choose to fund — for me this is critically important to send the message that Burlington supports its 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

(Comments from the June 8 Committee Meeting): This is great news for our city! Thank you to my fellow councillors who offered — during our June 8 committee meeting — their own existing funds for festivals and Burlington’s bench program and redirect those towards installing a Rainbow Crosswalk in their ward in an effort to help make this happen. That’s the kind of problem-solving we celebrate on Council.

One motion was brought forward, to reduce additional crosswalks to one, and to remove consideration of three additional ones during the upcoming 2022 budget. Thankfully that was voted down at committee, and no additional motions were brought forward at council. It’s extremely important to show a strong level of support across our city, particularly for our youths and young folks who may be struggling — a visual display of support from their City and Council can go a long way.

I want to also thank my fellow councillors who displayed unwavering support of this program from the start, for three crosswalks now and three to be discussed and funded during 2022 budget discussions.

We have an opportunity to signal on our roadways Council’s and City’s support for our 2SLGBTQIA+ community. When we installed our Rainbow Crosswalk at Brant and Lakeshore last year, I heard an outpouring of support for our youth and schools. We want to aim for distribution of crosswalks and benches across our city. My hope is that we will get 3 done this year, and hopefully budget for the remaining 3 in 2022. The response from the community on this via the online survey and through my office and social media channels has been overwhelming and a clear direction where they want to see the crosswalks installed. There’s also an opportunity to install Rainbow benches across our city, as well as a banner program for the month of June, Pride Month.

At its meeting yesterday (June 8), Burlington’s Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility (CPRM) Committee voted to recommend the City installs 6 new Rainbow Crosswalks over 2021/2022.

The motion memo was brought forward by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and can be viewed further down below or here:

You can watch the full discussion at committee on the City of Burlington’s website via this link — it is Item 5.5 Recognition and support of Burlington’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community through City infrastructure initiatives.

MOTION:

In recognition and support of Burlington’s 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) Community, direct staff to review the following city infrastructure initiatives:

  1. Refer the results of the survey entitled “Rainbow Crosswalk Survey” and direct the Director of Transportation to implement six (6) additional Pride (rainbow) crosswalks, using pre-established criteria, by Q4 2022, based on input from the community survey.
  2. Approve funding in an upset amount of $50,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund for the installation of the first 3 rainbow crosswalks in 2021, as soon as they can be installed and no later than Q42021
  3. Report back to committee and council on the 2021 crosswalks, including locations, timing and cost, no later than Q32021
  4. Direct the Director of Transportation to consider as part of the 2022 capital budget three (3) additional Pride (rainbow) crosswalks to be installed by Q42022, using pre-established criteria, and based on input from the community survey. Report to committee and council on the locations, timing and cost no later than Q2 2022
  5. Direct the Director of Transportation to conduct a review in 2023 on rainbow crosswalks, including additional consultation on future locations and report back to CPRM no later than Q2 2023.
  6. Direct the Director of Roads Parks and Forestry to report back to EICS no later than Q3 2021 with options for including Pride (rainbow) themed benches as an option in the Councillor Bench Program.
  7. Direct the Director of Transportation to report to CPRM no later than Q4 2021 on expanding the Street Banner Program to include a Pride (rainbow) themed option with sufficient time to implement by June 2022, the report shall include options, locations, cost and identify a funding source.

BACKGROUND:

Rainbow Crosswalks, benches and banners are visible ways to show that our city stands with our 2SLGBTQIA+ community. They help to send a strong message of welcome and support to everyone in our community and advances our city’s values, including those of equity, diversity and inclusion.

After the installation of our first Rainbow Crosswalk in 2020, there was intention to do broad community consultation for future locations. That action was put on pause due to COVID-19; however, interest from the community for additional crosswalks picked up, especially around schools, following the recent decision by the Halton Catholic District School Board of Trustees to not fly the Pride flag for Pride month in June.

An online public survey was prepared to expedite community consultation and respond to the community’s requests for additional locations in time to report to the community and City Council by June (Pride month) on locations and next steps.

The survey, posted between May 7th and May 23rd, asked the community to choose their top six locations from a list of locations developed in consultation with council, members of the former Rainbow Crosswalk Project Team, and recommendations received to date from the community. The members of that Project Team included representation from the following organizations:

  • Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee
  • Halton Regional Police Service
  • St. Christopher’s Church
  • Halton District School Board
  • Positive Space Network
  • PFlag Canada – Halton

Some locations on the list were pre-qualified by city staff, as they need to be at an intersection protected by a stop sign or signal, have good pavement condition, and ideally be in a prominent location with good visibility

A copy of the survey and results are attached as Appendices A and B, which includes suggestions for additional locations and public comments.

The goal is to install up to six locations by the end of 2022. Any locations not selected at this time can be considered in future years.

RAINBOW BENCHES:

As part of the Councillor Bench Program, initiated in the last term of council, each council member can select one bench each year to be installed at a qualifying location of their choice in conversation with their constituents.

This motion asks staff to review the procurement requirements for benches, and any incremental funding needs and source, and report back to Committee and Council with options for committee and council to consider in Q3 2021. Rainbow Benches are in place in other municipalities, such as the Towns of Lincoln and Milton. An example of what a rainbow bench looks like is attached as Appendix C. There is an opportunity as part of the Councillor Bench Program, for councillors to select a rainbow bench location in their ward, to be installed in 2021 or 2022.

The existing funding available for this program is $5,000 per location, which includes the bench, concrete pad, and installation.

RAINBOW FLAG STREET BANNER PROGRAM:

Through internal consultation, a suggestion to explore rainbow flags being installed on street poles during the month of June (Pride month), as part of the Street Banner Program. The motion asks staff to review the costs, potential locations and funding source, and report back to Committee and Council by Q4 2021 with options. This timeline would allow implementation by June Pride Month 2022, subject to approval by Committee (CPRM) and Council.

RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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2 thoughts on “Burlington Council Approves More Rainbow Crosswalks Across City in Support of 2SLGBTQIA+ Community”

  1. Sharon Hutchinson

    Think the rainbow symbol should be put virtual!!! This would help to eliminate more tax increases for all and save time and money on needs and essentials. It appears everything else has gone virtual why not the rainbow?

  2. Sandy Van Harten

    Rainbow crossings and benches have suddenly become a sidebar to the real emergency we are facing in Canada. What truly substantial actions are we taking on global warming? Who cares what your race or sexual orientation is when the planet is racing toward uninhabitality while we are still struggling with a global epidemic. Why are we wasting time and money on diversions?

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Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600