Niagara-on-the-Lake councillors are slowly taking the next steps toward adding a rainbow crosswalk and benches in town.
Council has decided to wait on approval from its municipal heritage and audit and finance committees, as well as a report from town staff on where the proposed features can be implemented before installation begins.
Coun. John Wiens, who serves on the Inclusivity committee, has been championing the installation hoping to get it done as soon as possible.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory. I was just hoping that we could expedite it a little quicker than the 2022 budget,” Wiens told his fellow councillors at their June 21 council meeting.
And though councillors voted to pass the project along to committees for consideration, chief administrative officer Marnie Cluckie said the town could speed up the project if needed.
“I can tell you that if we were directed to move forward and those two items were addressed then we could move very rapidly on it,” Cluckie said.
The two items she is referring to are both of a bureaucratic nature.
“The time constraint on this one is the consultation piece with the municipal heritage committee,” she said.
The other constraint on the project is the pending approval of the audit and finance committee.
A rainbow crosswalk installation would cost $10,000 to $15,000, according to Cluckie. No exact pricing has been determined for the benches.
Craig Lamour, the town's director of community and development services, said the 2021 operating budget already allocates two new benches and he was hoping to upgrade the new benches to rainbow benches for installation. That won’t be determined until after the audit and finance committee has had their say.`
“We’re very cautious about spending and I think that’s one of the big reasons it’s forwarded to the audit and finance committee,” Cluckie said, but offered an alternative to councillors.
“If council wanted us to look for funding, we could do so,” Cluckie said.
Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report