Proposing more Pride: Three Rivers to decide on requests for flags, crosswalks next month

·3 min read

THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. – Council is considering two requests to show support for Pride initiatives in the region.

However, the extent to which it can act on the requests might be limited.

The topic was discussed during a Three Rivers committees meeting on April 26. Matt Clendinning, owner of the Lucky Bean café in Montague, had made the requests earlier this month following a homophobic comment made about his business's Pride flag.

The first request was to start flying Pride flags at key locations every July, which is also when Pride week is celebrated, starting this year. There was no opposition voiced, but Mayor Edward MacAulay noted Three Rivers doesn't necessarily have jurisdiction over some of the proposed locations.

"If we're in agreement to fly the Pride flags, then we'd have to ask the establishments where Mr. Clendinning is requesting," he said.

Coun. Gerard Holland said it might be best for Clendinning to contact the establishments directly. Coun. Ronnie Nicholson added Three Rivers should facilitate getting some of those conversations started.

"I think the best thing we can do as a council is not to change anyone but to help facilitate change," Coun. Larry Creed said.

Clendinning proposed the following locations to fly Pride flags: • Three Rivers' administration building (under construction) • The Montague waterfront (governed by board) • Kings Playhouse (governed by board) • The Georgetown waterfront • The Cardigan Farmers' Market building

It was noted the Village Green in Cardigan has been flying a Pride flag for the past few years. Here are the Montague crosswalks that Matt Clendinning proposed re-painting with rainbow colours: • Main Street and Wood Islands Road • Main Street and Station Street • Main Street and Rink Street

Clendinning, who was at the meeting, agreed to contact the proposed establishments. He also offered, if it helped, to donate items such as flagpoles as well as paint for his second request, which was to re-paint some Montague crosswalks with rainbow colours.

"I have no problem doing that kind of legwork," he told council. "Tell me where you think it's appropriate and still in the community eye and I'm all for working with whoever I have to work with."

As for the crosswalks, MacAulay noted Three Rivers' roads are owned and maintained by P.E.I.'s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

"So, we'd have to ask them," he said. "We'll look at that as well."

A final decision will be made at Three Rivers' next regular meeting on May 10. .

Following this meeting, Clendinning told members of the media he was disappointed by how the requests were handled.

"That was a joke," he said. "I think I was expecting more than that."

Overall, he's glad the response wasn't a "no", but he wished councillors took the initiative to voice more support for the requests, such as by providing more input or suggesting other locations, rather than deflect them, he said.

"I'm gonna be the biggest thorn in their butts when it comes to this kind of thing."

It was also noted Three Rivers inherited a proclamation policy before it amalgamated from the former town of Montague that symbols cannot be displayed on its town property. However, council didn't indicate if this would pose a problem for the requests.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian