Vandals destroy rainbow crosswalk in Campbell River ahead of Pride weekend
It’s a literal black mark on the upcoming Pride festival in Campbell River.
Residents say they’re shocked and disheartened after vandals repeatedly targeted a newly installed rainbow crosswalk meant to be a symbol of LGBTQ pride.
The colourful crosswalk, made from canvas-backed vinyl, was applied last week by Keith Plamondon of Epic Design Studio Ltd. – and was just a matter of minutes until someone decided to tarnish it.
“Within 35 minutes we had our first burnout situation and the person who did it came back around. By the next morning there was three or four more,” Plamondon said. “It’s astonishing. I mean, it was sad and hurtful. I was more PO’d for the LGBTQ community.”
Not only has the crosswalk been targeted, Plamondon said his company is now facing the wrath of those who don’t agree with the symbol of diversity.
“We’ve been harassed through Facebook messages, through text messages, my office has been called through our business,” he said.
The crosswalk was made with the same materials in other cities and meant to endure normal wear and tear. Last year, the city used paint to create a temporary rainbow crosswalk.
“This year we tried a different product and there was vandalism, we don’t know why. We’re disheartened with that vandalism, so we’ve taken that method off,” said Campbell River Parks, Recreation and Culture Manager Ron Bowles.
Reaction to the crosswalk has been mixed in the community, with some saying city funds shouldn’t be used for it.
Others say they’re horrified by the vandalism, but aren’t surprised there’s still discrimination in the North Island community.
“I thought as a society we’d be a little further along the line than where we are now, and I can only hope that as we go forward this becomes less and less of an occurrence,” one man told CTV News.
Ironically, those vandalizing the crosswalk to protest public funds being used on it have caused more tax dollars to be spent, as the city said it will be painting the rainbow again on Friday.
Campbell River Pride festivities get underway this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Spirit Square.
First the crosswalk was hit, now company hired to install Campbell River's temporary pride symbol is receiving threats. Story on @CTVNewsVI pic.twitter.com/nSAJetbCp8— Gord Kurbis (@CTVNewsGord) June 23, 2017