Barrington's Pride flag was cut down. Residents are now fundraising for a security camera
$770 has been raised so far, camera is expected to cost up to $2K
Residents of a small community in Shelburne County, N.S., were outraged when their Pride flag was cut down in the middle of a late June night, but now they're taking matters into their own hands.
Community members in Barrington have started raising money to purchase a security camera in hopes of discouraging vandalism.
"I don't think any community reaches its highest potential until it is a safe place for everybody, all of its citizens," said Shaun Hatfield, a Barrington resident who started the initiative by donating the first $100.
"So this year when the flag was cut down ... I thought you're either a bully, a victim, a bystander, or you take an initiative to make your community a safe place for all people."
The Pride flag had nearly been up for the entire month of June — Pride month — before it was cut down June 28.
It was put back up by the municipality the next morning.
Hatfield, who is also a municipal councillor, said he made the initial donation to "discourage anyone from committing any further acts of intolerance or disrespect toward that segment of our community."
Hatfield offered the donation to the Barrington Museum Complex, which has continued collecting more donations. The camera would be placed on the museum grounds to watch over the area and the flagpole.
Museum director Samantha Brannen said the complex was already looking at purchasing equipment to install a Nova Scotia webcam, so she was happy to help out.
"I have requested more specific information to ensure that this will provide adequate coverage but the research that I have done suggests that it will," Brannen said in an email to CBC News. "I am looking at other options such as a security camera with an internal feed as a backup plan."
Brannen said the camera could cost up to $2,000 and the community has already raised $770.
Hatfield said the camera will be installed when enough money is raised.
Kennedy Stoddard, a Woods Harbour, N.S., resident, requested the Pride flag be flown in Barrington this year as a sign of support to the area's LGBTQ individuals.
Stoddard said she was disappointed when the flag was cut down.
"Last year, it was torn down almost every day," she said.
Sebastien Clairmont, a student studying at Dalhousie University's School of Social Work, grew up in Barrington.
He said he came out as gay when he was in Grade 7 and was bullied because of it.
Clairmont said the flag being cut down, after nearly staying up for the whole month, was upsetting.
"Seeing these things like the flag being taken down for two years [in a row] in my hometown, that affects me because I once grew up there," he said. "I understand that there are other youth like me that are still struggling in that town."
He said the community has become more accepting, but the latest incident means the area still has some work to do.
"Small towns get a bad rap for being intolerant or a little bit more close-minded," Clairmont said.
"I think [the Pride flag] is a symbol to a lot of people that we are also willing to change and I think the majority now are actually supportive of this change."