The Pride flag has become the first banner to fly at Elora’s new community flag pole, marking the first time the rainbow colours have been hoisted on township property in Centre Wellington.
Earlier this year, the municipality created a set of guidelines to allow community groups to request to display flags at the pole located at the green space near the corner of Mill and Metcalfe Streets.
Kicking off the initiative, the Elora Business Improvement Area (BIA) raised the rainbow flag there Wednesday. June is Pride Month.
Elora BIA chair Maclean Hann explained the BIA approached the municipality about flying the Pride flag on township property last year and was told there wasn’t a policy to accommodate flags other than those representing the township, province and Canada.
“So we pushed them to develop a policy for that," Hann said. "And that resulted in the community flag pole that was installed earlier this year.”
Hann said many businesses in Elora were already flying Pride flags on their properties, but “it feels really great” to now have it displayed on township property as well.
“I think it’s important for any thriving community to be inclusive,” Hann said, “and flying the Pride flag is a really important way of showing inclusivity.”
Mayor Kelly Linton agreed the community flag pole is a welcome addition to the downtown.
“It gives people the opportunity to celebrate different aspects of our community,” Linton said. “The Pride flag, for instance, is a celebration of diversity and inclusion.”
As per the city’s new flag policy, requests to use the Elora community flag pole will be approved at the discretion of township’s chief administrative officer. Permitted uses include the celebration of multicultural or civic events, and the acknowledgement of organizations that have made significant contributions to the community. Approved flags will be flown for up to two weeks.
Banners related to political and religious organizations are among those not allowed.
At this point, Linton said the Elora community flag pole is a “pilot project,” but in the future, the township hopes to work with the Fergus BIA to create a community flagpole in downtown Fergus as well.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com