Rainbow crosswalk in Woodstock, N.B. repainted after being vandalized
Crews in the town of Woodstock, N.B., have repainted a rainbow crosswalk installed two weeks ago after police say it was vandalized over the weekend.
Chief administrative officer Ken Harding said it’s believed the Main Street crosswalk, where it meets Water and King streets, was vandalized late Saturday or early Sunday morning.
Woodstock police believe the incident happened between 3 a.m. and 3:15 a.m. as a patrol car was in the area and found no paint at 3 a.m. but it was vandalized 15 minutes later.
Harding said an excessive amount of white paint was splashed over the rainbow colours, which pooled in the middle of the road. White paint was then put in place on the crosswalk “blocks” to absorb it as cars were also taking the splattered paint with them as they drove up or down the street.
He said the crosswalk was originally painted for a simple reason.
“It was the right thing to do for the community to show that Woodstock is an open and inclusive community,” Harding said, adding there had been no requests from organizations to put the crosswalks in place, and that town council supported the move.
‘It’s making strides’
That supportive environment is what resident Jacob O’Donnell said he’s happy to see.
O’Donnell has lived in the city his entire adult life and says he has never felt discriminated against or alone in the town. Seeing the push for inclusivity by the town is exciting, he said.
“It’s a very old fashioned town and it is making strides over the last couple years since we’ve noticed to make it more welcoming … it’s about diversity,” O’Donnell said.
What he didn’t expect after the incident, he said, was the positive response he heard from people in the community.
“People from all walks of life live in this area and it was actually kind of shocking to see how many people were upset by this,” O’Donnell said.
“The fact it was vandalized wasn’t something that bothered me directly … but my thing was just how positive the community was [and] how well the town council reacted.”
Rally in the works
On Monday, town crews repainted the area with brighter colours. Harding said the improvements to the rainbow are not for safety as the intersection is controlled by traffic lights. The crosswalk will just “stand out” compared to other crosswalks.
A rally is being planned in support of the crosswalk, according to organizer Kristen Stephens.
“People are saying it’s disgusting what was done at that rainbow crosswalk,” she said.
“If a couple of colours bother you to that extent, a simple act of showing support to another group in a public way by colouring some blocks on a road, and you’re willing to go and deface that and vandalize that, it speaks much more volumes of that individual than it does the community.”
No date has been set for the rally yet.
Police following up on leads
Police are asking for help from the public as they seek suspects.
The town is posting a $1,000 Crime Stoppers reward for information that leads to the arrest and charging of a suspect.
—With files from Jeremy Keefe, Global News
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