Town of Strathmore council has voted in favour of moving the location of the planned pride crosswalk from its originally suggested location, to immediately adjacent the municipal building.
The matter was brought forward to council during the Sept. 6 regular meeting, which was discussed at length prior to approval.
Council originally voted in July to approve the installation of the rainbow crosswalk on the corner of 2nd Ave and 2nd Street to celebrate the local LGBTQ2S+ community, and make all aware that they are welcome in town.
Following its approval, the crosswalk will now be located at the north entrance to the Strathmore Municipal Building parking lot on Parklane Drive.
Coun. Brent Wiley spoke at length during the regular meeting of council regarding his belief against the installation, and motioned to have council rescind their previous approval of the crosswalk.
Wiley suggested that by allowing such an installation, the Town of Strathmore may inadvertently be supporting the creation of a social class, and a movement towards Marxism.
“The line between good and evil is through the hearts of each of us. I am afraid we are accidentally drawing this line between different social classes,” he said. “I am afraid our municipality is honouring, celebrating and affirming one class of residents, while censoring and silencing another.”
The latter of his statement being in reference to council’s bylaw to require mail depicting graphic images to be delivered in discreet, opaque packaging with a displayed return address to the sender, in response to increased occurrences of pro-life messaging being delivered door to door in town.
Wiley’s motion, also requesting council direct administration to draft a bylaw to repeal the graphic images bylaw, as well as for administration to bring both matters to a future committee of the whole meeting, was considered out of order, and was defeated by Mayor and council.
Coun. Jason Montgomery expressed concerns that council would be approving the use of taxpayer money to forward a biased political agenda that not all in town would necessarily agree with, as well as to be openly in support of a controversial political issue.
Montgomery added he also questioned the new proposed location for the crosswalk, based on the aggressive use of motor vehicles in the area on previous occasions, such as for burnouts which leave tire marks on the concrete.
It was later clarified that the organizations involved, being the Skatemore Girls, Wheatland Youth Network, and Skills for Success, would be undertaking the installation of the crosswalk, and no taxpayer dollars would be directed towards the project.
Coun. Melissa Langmaid added her belief that the town is not supporting a political agenda, but rather allowing the development of an installation which encourages inclusivity, tolerance and acceptance within Strathmore.
Voting to approve the new placement of the crosswalk 5-2, the installation will continue as scheduled. The crosswalk will be painted on Sept. 22.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times