Crosswalk gets rainbow flag paint job

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Mayor Brad Mapes helps paint the crosswalk in front of NWT Centennial Library in the colours of the LGBTQ rainbow flag on Aug. 5.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Mayor Brad Mapes helps paint the crosswalk in front of NWT Centennial Library in the colours of the LGBTQ rainbow flag on Aug. 5.

Hay River now has a crosswalk painted in the colours of the LGBTQ rainbow flag.

Mayor Brad Mapes and a small group of volunteers, including some members of his family, painted the crosswalk the evening of Aug. 5.

“I think it looks pretty sharp,” he said of the finished product on Woodland Drive in front of NWT Centennial Library.

Mapes said he and his wife, daughter and an employee of one of his companies started the painting and were joined by another community resident.

“It was just a way to kind of help move forward the project,” he said.

The mayor said Hay River Pride and some supporters had planned to do the painting on July 31 but there was a mix-up in getting everything together for the work.

Town council approved painting the crosswalk in the colours of the rainbow flag at its meeting on July 25.

The idea was suggested to council by Hay River Pride, which said rainbow flag crosswalks have been appearing in some other Canadian cities and towns – including Fort Smith earlier this year – as a way to show acceptance and support for the LGBTQ community.

Storm Larocque, the co-ordinator of Hay River Pride, made the proposal to council at its July 11 meeting.

“I am so so pleased that our mayor took the initiative to do the crosswalk with his family,” said Larocque, who was in Yellowknife over the weekend and provided a comment to The Hub via Facebook. “The help is definitely appreciated. We were looking forward to doing the painting as a group, but to be able to come back to Hay River and see it completed is going to be a good feeling.”

She said that many people in Yellowknife are “super excited” to come to the Hay River Pride event on Aug. 13 and see the crosswalk.

Mapes said it took about three and a half hours to paint the crosswalk.

“It was a little bit stressful because it was sprinkling a little bit and we were a little bit worried that it was going to start raining,” he said, noting he and the other volunteers didn’t know how the paint would run if it rained. “We kept on going and it turned out pretty good. It was actually a great night for it because it was cool. If it was really hot it would have dried up really fast. This way it dried properly.”

Mapes said the crosswalk will now just need to be touched up after a while.

Council has also approved flying the rainbow flag for all of August on the pole between the old town hall and NWT Centennial Library.

–Paul Bickford