Fort Langley residents woke up Friday morning to find a new rainbow crosswalk in the village core.
Township crews finished painting the colourful piece, which was funded through private donors, on Thursday night (Sept. 14).
It was an emotional discovery for artist Elaine Brewer-White, who didn’t find out the painting was being done until around midnight last night. Brewer-White, along with a group of local artists, spearheaded the campaign in July 2016, following the massacre of 49 people inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
“This means to me a year’s worth of waiting after a lot of work by a lot of people, and a lot of donations by a lot of people. I’m just so grateful that it’s finally done,” Brewer-White said.
When she first approached the Township about the idea, Brewer-White was looking for permission to install the piece on Glover Road and Mavis Avenue. She already had the paint — and the helpers — to complete the project herself.
But things quickly became complicated as Township staff factored in the Transportation Association of Canada’s guidelines for creating crosswalks. Initially, it was estimated the the project would cost taxpayers $50,000.
A revised plan was created to instead install the crosswalk at Mary Avenue and Glover Road for a cost of $12,000.
Brewer-White turned to her community of artists, and through an art auction hosted by Susan Falk, along with private donations, the public raised the money needed to create the crosswalk.
“But what I just really want to enforce is that this is a symbol of love and inclusion,” Brewer-White said. “So anybody that would be against this crosswalk in Fort Langley needs to really think about their motivations, because if you’re against love and inclusion, then it’s worth questioning. So that’s all this is for. And it’s about unity, and that’s what I think Fort Langley, my community, is all about.”
After the money was raised, an anonymous donor contributed an additional $5,000. That money is now being used to create two mosaic benches outside of the Langley Centennial Museum. Brewer-White is supplying the tiles, and students from throughout Langley will be painting them.
The theme of that project is inclusion.