Nfld. & Labrador

Springdale aims to put crosswalk controversy behind them with this year's Pride Week

A year after their town was put in the national spotlight over a polarizing Pride crosswalk, a Springdale teacher says the community is moving forward — together.

High school teacher says the town is moving forward after attracting national attention last year

Last year Springdale held its first Pride Week, complete with a flag-raising at town hall. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

A year after a Newfoundland town attracted national attention for a dispute over a rainbow crosswalk, a high school teacher in Springdale says the beginning of the town's second Pride week marks a new direction forward.

"I think we're in a different place and I think we're just going to continue to move forward together and continue to form partnerships within the community," Christina Pelley told Newfoundland Morning.

Last year, Springdale's town council twice rejected a pitch from Indian River High School's gender-sexuality alliance for a rainbow crosswalk to be painted in the town as a show of support for the LGBTQ community. The town said it supported all residents but did not want to set the precedent of using public money to promote particular causes.

Springdale hosted its first official Pride Week in June 2018, with the support of council, and members of the GSA said they would continue their conversations with the town.

A year later, the town's second annual Pride Week begins Monday in partnership with the town and other community groups. An official flag-raising at the council building is planned for tonight and a full week of activities — including a church service, a family Pride event and a movie night — has been organized for the days ahead.

A picnic table is painted with a rainbow at Indian River High School. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"Last year we had agreed with the town that we were going to move forward from all of the crosswalk issues, and we did," said Pelley, Indian River High's guidance counsellor. 

"We moved forward together."

'A great day'

At the request of the school board, the Indian River High GSA hosted a public forum, a week before Pride, attended by about 80 students from across the region and 20 educators, Pelley said. 

"It was a great day," she said. "I think everyone felt it was a very successful and informative day and yeah, we're pretty proud of that."

With events like the forum and the town's second Pride Week, the community is moving on from last year's dispute about the crosswalk, Pelley said, and the public attention that came from it. She hopes progress will continue as the GSA, the town council and other community groups work together to hold events during Pride Week.

"This year I don't feel any sort of tension," she said. 

"There's certainly no tension between the town and our GSA."

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