A petition aimed at the City of Guelph to install the cities first LGBTQ2S+ rainbow crosswalk gained nearly 1,000 signatures in five days, with city officials saying a rainbow crosswalk is in the works.
Due to construction constraints presenting a logistical installation problem of an LGBTQ2S+ rainbow crosswalk, the City of Guelph opted to wait for information to come forward on an area that will allow for the installation of a permanent crosswalk.
City Staff looked into the roads in the downtown core, however, with road construction, city staff elected to hold off until a permanent visual display could be initiated without being disturbed.
Mayor Cam Guthrie said he was told the installation of a rainbow crosswalk has been talked about for a number of years within the downtown geographical area.
“The last thing they wanted to do was look to put something down one year, and then it’s ripped up the next,” said Guthrie. “So they have been in contact with the museums and cultural department, Guelph Pride and the Downtown Guelph Business Association and they’re kind of wading through that work with the stakeholders to see where it would be best suited in a more permanent place.”
Guthrie said having a visual representation of the values as a community that is inclusive and accepting of all is a positive thing for the City of Guelph.
Further to the rainbow crosswalk, Guthrie mentioned a seven feathers sidewalk that he had seen communities in Ontario install and said he would like the city to install an Indigenous seven feathers crosswalk as a means to honours Indigenous peoples.
Confirming what Guthrie said, Danna Evans, general manager of culture and recreation for the city, expects to have an LGBTQ2S+ rainbow crosswalk location chosen and installed in a visible area as early as Spring 2022.
“It has been in the works, absolutely. We have been engaging with local community partners, including the LGBTQ2S+ community, so there is further work to do to reengage with them and further conversation to come along together to be able to get a rainbow crosswalk or pride sidewalk to happen in our community,” said Evans.
The city has been looking for locations, identifying the downtown core as the ideal location to provide a visible sign of inclusion within Guelph.
A specific crosswalk has yet to be determined.
“There’s a fair amount of work that’s going to come forward in the next couple of years for construction downtown, and our intent is for this to be permanent,” said Evans. “We don’t want it to go somewhere and then have it then ripped up in a year for underground infrastructure work for example.”
Evans said the city is currently looking for a way to avoid the construction, and rather than have to wait upwards of four years for construction to be completed, the city will wait for finalized details from construction projects to find where the crosswalk can be installed without being disturbed.