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Saanich rainbow crosswalk restored after being painted over

The rainbow crosswalk at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre in Saanich had only been freshly installed two weeks earlier, on June 16.
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A Pearkes Recreational staffer uses a pressure washer to clean the Pride crosswalk in front of the recreation centre after it was vandalized and painted over with black paint. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

A recently installed rainbow crosswalk outside of G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre in Saanich was vandalized and painted over with black paint on Tuesday night.

Saanich crews were in the process of removing the paint with a hot-water pressure wash on Thursday afternoon.

The crosswalk had only been freshly installed two weeks before, on June 16.

In a statement, Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock said that there is no place for hate or bigotry in Saanich.

“On behalf of Saanich council, we are deeply disappointed and saddened by the wanton act of vandalism to the Pride crosswalk at Pearkes Recreation Centre,” he said, adding that the act of vandalism not only defaced public property, but also sent a message of division and exclusion.

On Twitter, Saanich councillors Colin Plant and Teale Phelps Bondaroff wrote messages of support to Saanich’s LGBTQ community.

Saanich police are investigating the crosswalk vandalism. Anyone with information about what happened is asked to contact police at 250-475-4321.

All four of Saanich’s rec centres recently had rainbow sidewalks installed.

Saanich spokesperson Myles Dolphin said that the crosswalks use a highly specialized road marking paint intended for longevity, adding that the crosswalk in front of Pearkes rec centre costed $13,920 to install.

“We hope it’ll be restored to its original state shortly,” he said in an emailed statement.

It’s the second act of vandalism in the capital region directed towards municipal celebrations of the LGBTQ community this month.

In Langford, five street banners marking Pride Month were spray-painted red and had to be removed less than 24 hours after installation.

Ace Mann, vice president of the Victoria Pride Society, said that the month of June is often “bittersweet” for LGBTQ activists who speak to media.

“It’s tough to both give messages of support and progress while also recognizing that there are echoes of the past repeating themselves,” Mann said. “It’s really important to keep our heads high and remember that we’re all in this together — and we can and will make a better future together.”

mjlo@timescolonist.com

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