By Stratford The Beacon Herald | July 29, 2021 | Original Link

Stratford council is showing its support for LGBTQ+ communities by approving a proposal by Infinite Pride Stratford to paint the crosswalk in front of city hall with the Pride Progress flag colours and design.

To show its support for LGBTQ+ communities, Stratford council voted Monday to approve a proposal by Infinite Pride Stratford and Sirkel Foods owner Kelly Ballantyne to replace the crosswalk in front of Stratford city hall with one featuring the colours and design of the Pride Progress flag.

Including the rainbow colours of the Pride flag, the Pride Progress flag also features the colours black and brown to represent people of colour, as well as white, baby blue and pink for the Trans community. The newer flag’s design incorporates the added colours in an arrow shape to show there is still work yet to be done in supporting LGBTQ+ people.

“Especially when it comes to Trans people and people of colour, these groups face significant discrimination, and we believe that the Pride Progress flag has its place at the heart of our downtown Stratford,” said Eric Charbonneau, a board member of Infinite Pride Stratford, during his and board chair Jennifer Vivian’s presentation to council.

Charbonneau told councillors that the plan to repaint the crosswalk at Wellington Street and Downie Street began in 2019 and was first brought before council in January 2020, but was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Charbonneau said Infinite Pride joined forces with Ballantyne, who was undertaking a similar initiative, to put the pieces in place and once again bring their idea to council.

Though Charbonneau said the cost of materials is expected to come in around $6,686, he noted painter Jessica Elliott of Powerhouse Painting has offered to donate her time to paint the crosswalk.

Charbonneau said Elliott would use a thermoplastic solution to weatherproof the crosswalk paint. In response to a question about the proposed paint and weather coating by Coun. Dave Gaffney, Stratford infrastructure director Taylor Crinklaw said the proposed coating is the same one the city uses to coat its other crosswalks and it can be expected to last three to five years before colours start to fade.

To avoid confusion for drivers and the visually impaired, Charbonneau said the crosswalk design now also includes a white border, as recommended by Stratford’s accessibility advisory committee and the CNIB Foundation.

“Infinite Pride will create and share a fundraising campaign through our Facebook page, Infinite Pride Stratford, and we, of course, invite the community of Stratford to join our page to watch development of the project,” Charbonneau said, adding that the organization may also seek a community grant from the city to cover any remaining costs after fundraising.

In addition to approving the crosswalk, council also voted to approve and cover the $300 cost of a temporary road closure once painting commences.

gsimmons@postmedia.com

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