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BEHIND THE SCENES: Pride crosswalk vandalized for second time

Niagara-on-the-Lake Local reporter Mike Balsom takes us behind the scenes

Niagara-on-the-Lake's Pride crosswalk, which was defaced twice within a week, has now been cleaned. The town's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Marnie Cluckie, stated that town staff were assessing the best cleaning method and considering the installation of cameras to prevent future vandalism. The decision to install cameras falls under Cluckie's operational budget, and she intends to expedite the process. The crosswalk was initially challenging to clean due to circular marks caused by tires coated with a substance, likely tar. However, with a combination of hot, high-pressure water and effort, the crosswalk was successfully cleaned.

The Progressive Pride design of the crosswalk represents trans and non-binary individuals with light blue, pink, and white colors, while black and brown represent marginalized people of color. The crosswalk serves as a visible reminder of inclusivity and support for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Although there were negative comments on Facebook, suggesting people bring lawn chairs to guard the crosswalk, Cluckie discouraged taking matters into their own hands. However, she appreciated the overwhelming support for inclusivity in the community.

Lisa Simpson, a former resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake now living in Toronto, offered to sit and protect the crosswalk for a 12-hour shift. Her willingness to support the crosswalk demonstrates the community's unity against discrimination. Despite the disappointing negative comments on Facebook, it reaffirms the town's commitment to creating an inclusive environment. Coun. Erwin Wiens expressed disappointment with the opposition to the crosswalk, emphasizing that council's decision was based on staff reports and recommendations. He believes the crosswalk is necessary to demonstrate that hate is not acceptable in the town.

The recommendation for installing the Pride crosswalk came from the town's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee in 2021, which was accepted by the council. A survey conducted in June 2022 showed overwhelming support for the crosswalk and rainbow benches, with only a few expressing opposition. The installation of rainbow crosswalks and benches as symbols of inclusivity is common throughout Canada and North America. The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake aims to embrace and celebrate diversity within the community.

Video Summary:

The Pride crosswalk in Niagara-on-the-Lake has been vandalized for the second time, with deliberate damage done to the painted surface. The cleanup process faced challenges as a substance, likely tar, was smeared on the tires that spun over the crosswalk.

The town staff is now discussing the installation of cameras to prevent further vandalism. The community has shown support through social media, and one former resident even offered to guard the crosswalk for a 12-hour shift.

The town's CAO expressed disappointment and emphasized the importance of promptly addressing and repairing such acts of vandalism. The incident highlights the need to maintain an inclusive and welcoming environment in the community.