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Rainbow crosswalk removed in Alberta town where residents voted to ban them

Town of Westlock CAO Simone Wiley said the town was following the required process and that the removal was “not a spectacle” or “anything that needed to be a big show.”
The Town of Westlock officially removed its rainbow crosswalk on June 7. Kristine Jean/WN

The Town of Westlock’s rainbow crosswalk has been officially removed almost a year after it was painted downtown.

The removal was completed on June 7 and it was painted on June 27, 2023. 

The rainbow crosswalk was removed in compliance with the crosswalk and flagpole bylaw, which was voted on in a plebiscite by Westlock residents in February. The bylaw was unanimously passed by councillors at the March 11 regular council meeting.

Town of Westlock CAO Simone Wiley said in an interview Wednesday that the town was following the required process and that the removal was “not a spectacle” or “anything that needed to be a big show.”

“The democratic process occurred. It’s part of the bylaw that was passed … that the (rainbow) crosswalk was not to be grandfathered in, so the town had no choice but to remove the crosswalk,” said Wiley, noting there was no timing associated with its removal.

“We’re just following the process that needed to be done.”

Town of Westlock director of operations Robin Benoit said in a follow-up email that they are currently working through the town’s “annual roadway line stripping program.”

He confirmed that the rainbow crosswalk was removed last week and noted several factors that caused a minor delay in its removal.

“We did have some equipment issues while removing the crosswalk and (that) is why it took a couple days to remove it. Weather also played a role,” said Benoit, adding that the “standard white replacement markings” will be completed as soon as the weather allows.

“The original white markings are visible so it should be ok until we get the new markings done.”

While Benoit could not provide an exact date when that will be completed, he did explain some of the town’s procedure in its annual stripping program, and noting the weather, said they have had just a “few days” this spring with the right conditions to paint.

“We paint high-traffic volume areas early in the morning and low-traffic areas during the rest of the day,” said Benoit, noting they plan to incorporate longer-lasting line stripping products into the town’s program starting this year and will expand it over the next couple of years.

“These products are a lot more expensive and time-consuming but can last up to seven to 10 years (and) they also allow us to place lines in cooler temperatures,” said Benoit.  

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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