Port Alberni poised to get its first rainbow crosswalk


Small group makes Port Alberni’s first rainbow crosswalk out of chalk to mark shooting anniversary. Kendall Hanson reports. 

The heavy rain is washing away the last bits of Port Alberni’s first rainbow crosswalk.

It’s painted to mark a major tragedy.

“It was the one-year anniversary of the shooting down in Orlando, Florida at the Pulse Nightclub which 49 people were killed, 58 people were injured,” Shelley Shenton, president of the Alberni Valley Pride Society, said. “It affected LGBTQ all around the world.”

“It affected LGTBQ all around the world.”

At midnight on Sunday, 15 people drew the rainbow on the crosswalk closest to Port Alberni City Hall in chalk.

It was a suitable time to avoid traffic but also a way to ensure all of Port Alberni would see it on the anniversary.

“It was a heart breaking thing to think that just because of who you loved, and you were at a gay bar, that you got massacred,” Shenton said. 

A rainbow crosswalk is something that’s been requested in the past but it’s never been a priority of council.

“It kind of boiled down to the issues around either concerns of safety or just not wanting to spend money on it,” Coun. Chris Alemany said. 

Alemany was among those who created the rainbow.

He decided to start a fundraiser the next day for a permanent rainbow crosswalk and his $2,000 goal was exceeded within a day.

“The reaction’s been overwhelmingly positive and really really good,” Alemany said.

“It’s been really nice to see that there’s that support in the community.”

“It was [in] 18 hours they raised more than what the total was that they were asking for,” Shenton said.

“I watched that whole thing and barely got any sleep.”

Alemany would like to see the city fund the project as a sign of support for the LGBTQ community. 

For now, he’ll take the funds raised to the next council meeting to make sure that even as this crosswalk fades away, the idea behind it does not.   

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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