Update:A previous version of this story said there was debate over whether the graffiti was referencing Salmon Arm or a local high school. The prevailing opinion is now that the graffiti said “Make S.A. Straight Again” and was not referencing a local high school. The story has been updated to reflect that.
Salmon Arm’s new rainbow crosswalk, a symbol of inclusion for the community’s LGBTQ+ community, was vandalized again Sunday night.
The crosswalk on 5 Street SW near Blackburn Park was installed less than two weeks ago and has already been vandalized at least twice.
Last week, someone did a burnout across the rainbow. The mayor believes that damage was deliberate and called it disappointing.
Salmon Arm resident Brian Bannister was disheartened to see more vandalism on the rainbow crosswalk Monday morning, but not surprised.
“It’s hatred,” Bannister said. “Hatred in Salmon Arm.”
“We moved here because it is such a wonderful community. Most of the people that live here are accepting. It’s a beautiful area to raise children in. It is safe for the most part, but to see that and to know it is alive in our community, that kind of hatred, it’s very disappointing and disheartening.”
For its part, the local school district condemned the damage.
“We actually have great respect for the city and appreciate the route that the city has done with the sidewalk, but it is disappointing it was vandalized.” said Carl Cooper, director of instruction for School District 83.
In fact, the idea for a local rainbow crosswalk came from high school students.
“We will continue to follow the lead of our students in lots of ways around what we as adults should be doing,” Cooper said. “They are ahead of us in lots of ways. It is their generation that is moving forward, saying this is about respect and dignity for all.”
The rainbow crosswalk was quickly repainted.