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Stephenville Pride group making strides despite having previous requests for rainbow crosswalks denied

Chantal Drake of Western Pride's Stephenville Chapter is pleased to see rainbow crosswalks approved for Stephenville but believes they should have come sooner.
Chantal Drake of Western Pride's Stephenville Chapter is pleased to see rainbow crosswalks approved for Stephenville but believes they should have come sooner. - Submitted

While Chantal Drake is pleased to hear that rainbow crosswalks have been approved for Stephenville streets, she a little disappointed two previous requests by the Stephenville Chapter of Western Pride were turned down.

In an interview this past Thursday, she said she’s not even sure if those requests, made in the fall of 2017 and in the fall of 2016, ever made it to the council table.

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Drake said last year their group received a letter from the town telling them their request was denied “as the crosswalk marking is an international symbol and council felt there could be a liability if they changed it and there was an incident at these crosswalks.”

She said the previous year it was turned down for basically the same reason but it was a verbal denial that the Pride group received.

At Thursday’s meeting it was pointed out for the rainbow crosswalks to be legal, they need the white line painted on either side of the coloured lines.

Drake said the local chapter of Western Pride would certainly not have objected to that.

Meanwhile she’s happy with the locations of the crosswalks and said the two going in at the Main and Queen Streets intersection are at the location they asked for.

She’s said the other ones, at the intersection of Main and West Streets, which were suggested by Colleen and James Gallant, is also a good location where it’s next to two schools.

Drake said she’s 35 years old now, so whatever people say to or about her, she doesn’t really care.

She said these crosswalks are not just colourful lines on a street but symbols of inclusion and a more accepting place.

“This is for the kids so they don’t have to experience homophobia or fear and let them know that it is OK to be themselves,” Drake said.

She believes the local Pride chapter has come a long way, especially after being turned down twice, so it’s great to see it moving forward.

Drake said she would love to see other towns in the area put in rainbow crosswalks too but said their organization never put forward requests in other towns.

Stephenville Crossing

The town council of Stephenville Crossing will soon be making a decision on whether or not it will be putting in a rainbow crosswalk in the town.

Mayor Lisa Lucas said St. Michael’s Elementary School Council, where she works, will be putting in a request to council to place a rainbow crosswalk at the end of the school driveway where it intersects with Hospital Road.

She said staff at the school are in agreement and feel it’s the best spot for one as part of the school promotion of tolerance.

The request will be looked at when it comes before council.

St. George’s

Mayor Danny Conway said he doesn’t know of any requests for rainbow crosswalks in his town and that if one came it would likely have to be passed on to the Department of Transportation and Works, which maintains the town’s Main Street.

He said there are three crosswalks on that thoroughfare, which is the department’s responsibility and that both streets leading to and from the schools are one-way streets, which doesn’t require crosswalks.

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