Saint John to add rainbow sidewalk as province clarifies confusion over policy

Click to play video: 'Province clarifies confusion over rainbow crosswalks' Province clarifies confusion over rainbow crosswalks
WATCH: The provincial minister of transportation is clarifying the New Brunswick's position on whether rainbow crosswalks should be pained on provincially-designated highways. Andrew Cromwell has the details – Jun 5, 2018

The City of Saint John is set to move forward with a new rainbow sidewalk later this year, even as the provincial minister of transportation attempted to clarify whether rainbow crosswalks should be painted on provincially designated highways.

The City of Saint John made the decision after receiving unanimous approval from Common Council at a meeting Monday night.

Rainbow sidewalks are seen as a sign of an inclusive and welcoming community, said Don Darling, the mayor of Saint John, and he hopes a day will come when Pride parades are no longer seen as necessary.

“Because what that will mean is that… the community, the LGBTQ+ community is not having to fight to be treated just like most of us get to be treated on a daily basis,” he said.

READ MORE: New Brunswick premier appears to backtrack on messaging about rainbow crosswalks

The decision comes only a day after Moncton announced it was prepared to paint over its rainbow crosswalk after municipalities throughout the province recommended they should not paint rainbow crosswalks on provincially-designated highways until a new federal safety study is in.

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But in a tweet on Monday, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, appeared to walk-back that decision and said all communities should be encouraged to paint rainbow crosswalks.

Bill Fraser, the minister of transportation, met with reporters on Tuesday in an attempt to clear up the confusion.

Fraser apologized and said an error was made and his revised letter was not sent to the group of Francophone municipalities.

He said the province promotes inclusion in all communities and will allow the crosswalks if they meet current standards — but is still waiting for the results of a Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) study of potential safety issues posed by rainbow crosswalks.

“Until the Transportation Association of Canada’s review is complete, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is leaving the discretion on whether or not to proceed with these crosswalks with the municipalities whether or not a municipal road is provincially designated,” Fraser said on Tuesday.

The TAC report is due by the end of the year.

Until then, Fraser said he would encourage the use of white stripes between the various colours to improve visibility.

WATCH: Rainbow crosswalk in New Brunswick once again stirring controversy

Click to play video: 'Rainbow crosswalk in Sussex once again stirring controversy' Rainbow crosswalk in Sussex once again stirring controversy
Rainbow crosswalk in Sussex once again stirring controversy – May 24, 2018

The decision by Saint John Council is being welcomed by the Pride community.

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“We’re here for our LGBTQ+ community and the city is here to support us when we need it,” said Michael Cummings, president of Saint John Pride.

Less than two weeks ago, the town of Sussex voted to paint a rainbow sidewalk. However, not everyone was on board with that decision.

Some negative comments have already been made in Saint John, but that doesn’t deter the mayor.

“We should not be deterred by one or two people that choose to hide under the umbrella of some false argument that this shouldn’t be done,” added Mayor Darling.

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