Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundland town to paint not 1 — but 2 — rainbow crosswalks

A small Newfoundland town council has voted unanimously — and unasked — to paint its first-ever crosswalks with the colours of the rainbow.

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove council voted unanimously in favour

The cities of St. John's and Mount Pearl have also displayed rainbow crosswalks in the past. The crosswalk was in Corner Brook. (Brian McHugh/CBC)

A small Newfoundland and Labrador town council has voted unanimously — and unasked — to paint its first-ever crosswalks with the colours of the rainbow in a bid to show support to the LGBTQ community.

The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove town council voted Tuesday evening to create two brightly coloured crosswalks in the community of about 2,000 people.

Deputy Mayor James Cadigan said Wednesday that a councillor took it upon himself to bring the motion forward and all seven members supported it, adding that the crosswalks will likely be in place in a few weeks.

"We felt that it was the right thing to do to make it a proactive move to show our support for an inclusive community and to embrace diversity and especially show leadership for our youth," he said in an interview.

"Every community is becoming more diverse and we're there to be leaders for our community to show our support."

The initiative was not proposed by a resident or group, but was spearheaded by a councillor.

Cadigan said the early response from the community has been positive, with an email from the principal of the local elementary praising the council for taking the step and "just the overall happiness that we have such an inclusive community."

Contrast to Springdale decision

The approach is in stark contrast to a simmering debate in Springdale, a community of about 3,000 people in Notre Dame Bay that attracted national attention after its council voted against painting a rainbow crosswalk.

A student group from the local high school proposed the initiative as a way to promote inclusion and diversity — something that has been done in cities across the country.

Some students in Springdale want their council to show support for diversity. (Martin Jones/CBC)

The Springdale council voted four to three against painting the crosswalk. Mayor Dave Edison, who cast the deciding vote, told a reporter from the local Nor'Wester newspaper he was concerned the crosswalk would create division.

Three teenagers from Indian River High School's Gender-Sexuality Alliance spoke at Monday night's council meeting in the hope that they could convince local politicians to reverse their decision.

Lorinda Goudie, administrative assistant for the Town of Springdale, said Tuesday there is no follow-up meeting planned and it's not clear if there will be another vote.

The rejection prompted widespread criticism from prominent Newfoundlanders and spurred a Go Fund Me page dubbed "Paint the town Gay!" which had raised more than double its $500 goal by Tuesday afternoon.

When asked whether the Springdale case had influenced his council's decision, Cadigan would only say, "We look at the opportunity to show support and to recognize that we can be leaders here and support inclusion. 

He said one of the crosswalks will be in front of the town hall and the other in front of a recreation area a few minutes away.

Cadigan, 30, grew up in the town and said they raise the rainbow flag and have a get-together at a local beach every year during Pride week.

"Our town is a very progressive town and we're based on community solidarity right from when I was a child growing up," he said.

With files from Ariana Kelland