Less than two weeks after the municipality asked for donations to help make the Rainbow Crosswalk a reality near the Civic Centre, a local company stepped forward to make it happen.
At the Nov. 20 council meeting, council opted to install the crosswalk at the corner of King and Second streets in Chatham.
The crosswalk will cost about $8,000, due to the specialized paint required for pavement markings. Provincial funding will cover $6,000 of the cost, leaving the municipality with a $2,000 share.
The stipulation by council Nov. 20 was for there to be no municipal tax dollars used to paint the crosswalk, which is designed to promote inclusion for the LGBT community in Chatham-Kent.
The plan was to ask for donations from the individuals and businesses, but the Canadian Executive Search Group (CESG) changed all that by offering to foot the entire $2,000 bill.
Kyle Pinsonneault of CESG said it was an easy decision.
“We’re all about everyone accepting anyone. We support Windsor Pride and are happy to see Chatham-Kent support Pride more visibly,” he said.
Marianne Willson, president of CK Pride, said efforts to have the Rainbow Crosswalk installed in Chatham-Kent began about a year ago. With the support of the gender sensitivity group at Chatham-Kent Secondary School, work began in earnest to get the concept before council.
Enter Chatham Coun. Brock McGregor, a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community in C-K.
Once it reached the point where some public financial support was required, Pinsonneault said that was when he started seeing some negative comments on social media and wanted to make sure the funding was in place.
“It shows acceptance and it shows it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said of the crosswalk’s impact. “This community is 50 years behind the times. Just look at the comments on social media.”
On hand for the donation with Pinsonneault Friday was CESG colleague Chris Couture, who is also the vice-president of CK Pride. He said acceptance can take time.
“Change happens over time. This is a start,” he said.
“This sort of support from the private sector is a huge boost. It’s just the beginning of bigger and greater things,” she said.
Pinsonneault, meanwhile, hinted CESG would be interested in continued financial support of inclusivity in Chatham-Kent.
According to municipal officials, the Rainbow Crosswalk should be in place by the middle of next year.