Rainbow crosswalks have been popping up all over Canada ever since Vancouver pioneered the movement in 2013. B.C.'s rainbow crosswalks are colourful additions to a city's roads are a powerful statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community. However, one city just 90 minutes from Vancouver voted earlier this year to pass on installing a rainbow sidewalk and since then they've been popping up around the city and breaking all the rules.
A request for a rainbow crosswalk was submitted to the city earlier this year and it had a petition with 780 signatures in support.
At a City of Chilliwack Council meeting on September 3, 2019, the city voted to "deny, with regret, the request to install a rainbow crosswalk," according to their minutes.
Their decision was based partly on a policy called "Crosswalk Decoration Guidelines." Passed in 2017, this policy prevents the creation of any sidewalk decoration that could be considered political or religious.
The policy is also supposed to "ensure those crosswalks remain consistent in appearance and continue to serve as safety devices for pedestrians."
The Chilliwack City Council's lack of support has prompted an explosion in colour in Chilliwack. According to Abby News, people are breaking the rules with a clever loophole.
Since denying the rainbow sidewalk back in September, there's been a rainbow proliferation on private properties, First Nations Land and even at the Chilliwack School District office — all places where the city's rules won't apply.
According to The Progress, there are 11 rainbows painted right now with five more planned and a group called Chilliwack Citizens 4 Change has reportedly even asked the Guinness Book of World Records to add a brand new category for the Most Rainbow Crosswalks in a City.
Chilliwack is far from the only city to deny a rainbow sidewalk. According to the Georgia Straight, councils in other B.C. cities like Merritt and Valemount have voted "no" to a rainbow sidewalk.
Who knows how many rainbow crosswalks and murals will pop up around the city in the near future as the trend shows no sign of stopping.