Outside of labour, the cost of creating three rainbow crossings in support of the LGBTQ community amounted to little more than buying a “bit of paint” in the words of Brock Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden.
She made those comments when the issue of cost came up at Monday (Aug. 12) night’s meeting of township council after Ward 3 representative Walter Schummer made an inquiry.
Noting that some Durham municipalities have not proceeded with the initiative due to cost, Coun. Schummer asked how much the Township had spent painting the crossings on Albert Street at Park Street in Cannington, Park Street at Church Street in Sunderland and the steps at the Beaverton Town Hall.
The bulk of the $1,800 price tag cited by interim CAO Garth Johns was labour by Township staff.
“The time spent by works staff was minimal and I’m sure did not compromise any other works department projects like roads, brushing, grading, or other tasks,” Schummer wrote in a social media post following the meeting.
The crossings were officially unveiled on July 9 as representatives from PFLAG Durham and the DRPS joined Township officials and local residents in Cannington.
In a brief address. Mayor Bath-Haden said it was a historic moment for the municipality.
Jake Farr, a representative from PFLAG Durham, applauded council for their efforts.
“It shows acceptance and support. We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.
“Congratulations to the Township of Brock for doing this and leading the way in North Durham,” added Dylan Robichaud on behalf of area MP Jamie Schmale.
“It’s a tremendous way – and a permanent way – to show support.”
Council approved the initiative following a presentation from Farr a month prior.
“There is a vibrant, hidden LGBTQ community here in Brock Township and in Durham Region,” Farr said at the time, estimating that roughly 10 percent of the local population would identify as members of the LGBTQ community
“I am here to ask that the Township of Brock be willing to stand up, acknowledge and show support for folks who are often marginalized, discriminated against and mistreated in not only public spaces but within private spaces in their lives. A pride or rainbow crosswalk can be a life-saver. It can be a symbol of acknowledgment that the community is seen and is welcomed and included.”
He told councillors that those in the LGBTQ community are four times more likely to attempt suicide than the “general public.”
“We often teased, mocked, physically assaulted, called names and told that our existence in this world is not needed…Being involved in the Durham LGBTQ community, I can confirm that we do lose folks every year to suicide because of family and society rejection and not feeling like they belong. It is real, right here in our backyards,” Farr said.