City staff estimates that painting a rainbow in a Delta crosswalk to ‘“proactively support diversity and inclusion” of the LGBTQ community would cost $6,500.
Last month, in response to a letter from Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society founder Alex Sangha asking the city to implement services to benefit its LGBTQ population, council tasked staff and the newly-established community liveability advisory committee to look into what the city can do to show its inclusivity and better support the LGBTQ community.
On Monday night (March 4), council received a report from acting director of corporate services Mel Cheesman that reiterated council’s directive to refer the issue to its new committee, while also recommending that city staff develop a strategy to promote diversity and inclusion.
“The importance of seeing oneself reflected in society increases a person’s self-worth, sense of belonging and overall mental health,” the report reads. “Visible reminders to a community that diversity is something of value also support the development of an inclusive and welcoming city.”
The report goes on to list 43 communities in B.C. that have already installed rainbow crosswalks, and says a single 12-metre rainbow crosswalk will cost the city an estimated $6,500. Other symbols of inclusion in Delta could include rainbow benches, murals and street banners, though there were no cost estimates for any of those options.
According to the report, “Delta’s Social Profile indicates a need for more communication with the LGBTQ community to bring Delta in-line with other cities,” adding there are “relatively few” events in Delta that support said community.
“Outwardly visible symbols of diversity and inclusiveness must be supported with a sustainable commitment to changing behaviour, understanding and acceptance,” the report says. “This can be done through policies and actions that reinforce the messaging around diversity and inclusiveness.”
The report stops short of recommending where Delta’s first rainbow crosswalk should be, though it notes an email staff received from a Delta resident suggesting an unnamed location in central Tsawwassen.
Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon said in an open letter to mayor and council Feb. 26 that he would like to see one at the intersection of 112th Street and 84th Avenue.
“This will serve as a visual reminder that everyone is welcome in Delta. We all make up the beautiful fabric of our community in our own diverse ways,” he wrote.
In determining the city’s strategy for promoting diversity and inclusion, the report directs staff to consult with local businesses and community groups to determine the level of support for city-led LGBTQ initiatives and “what a city contribution might look like.”
The next step is for staff and the community liveability advisory committee to report back to council with recommendations, though no deadline has been given. Delta council finalized the committee’s membership on Monday and notification letters will be sent out by the end of the week, according to a city spokesperson. No word yet on when the names of the committee members will be publicly available.
The date of the community liveability advisory committee’s first meeting is yet to be determined.