Armstrong residents Janine Carscadden, left, her partner Eva Ekeroth and their dog, Ollie, collect signatures of support for a rainbow crosswalk in the city. (Contributed)

Armstrong residents Janine Carscadden, left, her partner Eva Ekeroth and their dog, Ollie, collect signatures of support for a rainbow crosswalk in the city. (Contributed)

Armstrong couple hope for rainbow crosswalk somewhere in community

Plenty of support shown for adding colourful crosswalk to city

It wouldn’t be just for her. Not just for her partner. Not just for the older members of the community.

The goal of having a rainbow crosswalk painted in Armstrong, said Janine Carscadden, is that such a celebration of diversity, inclusion and bringing the community together will benefit young people.

“Despite all the advances in LGBTQ2S+ rights in today’s society, there are still young people afraid to come out,” said Carscadden who, along with partner Eva Ekeroth, is spearheading a campaign for a rainbow crosswalk in the city.

“The crosswalk will show this is a community that cares, and where they are safe.”

Carscadden and Ekeroth, who moved to the North Okanagan from North Vancouver in 2010, have been chatting for a couple of years, wondering if their new community is ready to have a Pride Parade, a rainbow crosswalk and follow the lead and path in other communities (Vernon and Coldstream have rainbow crosswalks, as do Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke) of sending a message of tolerance and diversity in the community.

With June being Pride Month, the couple decided to stop talking and do something about it, and see where it goes.

They launched a Gathering of Support, calling for signatures asking the city to consider putting in a rainbow crosswalk.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we’ve been pretty taken aback by the level of support we have received,” said Carscadden. She and Ekeroth will give to council the support pages as well as make a presentation at an upcoming regular meeting.

“It’s really taken on a life of its own.”

Carscadden, Ekeroth and Ollie, the couple’s Portuguese Podengo rescue dog from Mexico, spent this past Saturday at the Serendipity Market at the IPE Grounds, answering questions and collecting signatures. They were aided by a gentleman named Rick from Kelowna Pride, who brought an array of flags to the booth, as well as support for the crosswalk from the organization.

If you haven’t signed yet, but would like to, sheets are available at the Armstrong Chamber of Commerce, the Brown Derby and Carscadden and Ekeroth will have a table at Memorial Park Friday night, June 25, at 7 p.m. at the first Music in the Park concert of the 2021 series.

If council was to approve a rainbow crosswalk, Carscadden said she’d like to see it installed on Smith Drive, between Askew’s and the VantageOne Credit Union, Pleasant Valley Boulevard or the entrance to Memorial Park.

“We will really respect the city’s process in this,” said Carscadden. “We will respect their community engagement process and work in partnership with them.

“Wherever it may end up, it would be celebrated.”

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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