CHETWYND, B.C. – The District of Chetwynd has painted a rainbow crosswalk to show their support for LGBTIAQ2S+ residents, just in time for pride month.

According to District of Chetwynd CAO Carol Newsom, the council authorized the initiative on April 4th after consulting with Luis Restrepo, a Chetwynd resident and representative of the Dawson Creek Pride Society’s Chetwynd chapter.

“We wanted somebody who could guide us in what would be the most respectful and impactful thing we could do,” Newsom said.

Restrepo says his relationship with the District began two years ago when the council proclaimed June as Pride Month.

“They approached me this year with the idea of doing the crosswalk and putting some planters by the welcome sign,” Restrepo said.

Restrepo says the support of the district means a lot to him.

“Many people who live in a small town, a majority don’t feel like they’re welcome based on their sexuality,” Restrepo said.

“I wanted to take part in making them feel welcome, and if they’re struggling with their sexuality at this point, I just wanted them to know that, hey, we are out here, we welcome you. We love you. And we accept you for who you are,” Restrepo added.

Restrepo adds that council, as well as Mayor Allen Courtoreille, was receptive and “very welcoming.”

Newsom said when crews painted the sidewalk, they received numerous positive comments, similar to when the district began displaying a pride flag at their office last year.

“It’s very important to be inclusive as a society and to include everybody in the community. We really want to make an effort to include everybody,” Newsom said.

Newsom added that the council will soon paint an orange feather crosswalk in honour of residential school survivors.

Dawson Creek will hold their pride celebration on June 13th, while the North Peace Pride Society’s festivities are already in full swing.

Pride Week began in FSJ on May 28th and kicked off with an art exhibition featuring pieces by local artists with the theme “What does Pride mean to me?”

The society will hold its annual pride walk, which will follow a different route this year, starting at Centennial Park on June 4th at 2 p.m. A drag competition and Hawaiian-themed dance will follow.

Spencer Hall is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.