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The County of Brant only started celebrating Pride in 2019. It was a big celebration with a lot of learning and advocacy activities attached – making up for lost time. In 2020 celebrations were muted by the pandemic despite support growing and the hard work of our locally-formed County of Brant Pride Committee. So, in 2021 with more forewarning that it would be an adapted Pride Month again in June planning began.

The Pride Committee used its small budget of less than $2500 over the last 2 years to print signs showing support for Pride that could be put up at homes that wanted to celebrate despite the inability to gather. An individual donated an extra $1000 when within 24 hours requests exceeded the budget.

That is great! Not so great is the misinformation going around town spread on social media sites that the County spent $39,000 on signage for Pride. Simply not true.

Speaking of misinformation – there are also many inaccuracies out there about the use of a Pride colour theme on a crossover in Downtown Paris.

I hope people are just conflating numerous things. The pedestrian safety plan budget which some people like and some people don’t (fair enough) included construction and design of crossovers downtown, the creation of a Barnes Dance intersection, weight sensitive pucks which help with timing of traffic lights, the repainting of ALL lines (including accessible parking symbols) in the core block, bollard installation, new signage and more.

Because of the timing of the various stages of the plan we also had to repaint the crossovers. When this opportunity presented itself numerous organizations and individuals requested the installation of a Pride Walk. The cost to add this was nominal to the overall project and most of council voted in favour of the request.

Lots of folks were happy about it. A small number of people clearly set out to vandalize the new addition to Downtown. This is well beyond regular tire wear. You can look at this crossover and the non-Pride one a half block away and it is not even comparable.

This happens in communities all over the province no matter where they are put. But you don’t govern for haters. Let’s also stop making excuses for them. That is the part that speaks to a larger issue than a hateful jerk burning rubber to make a counter statement.

When did we start making excuses for vandalism? We get vandalism on the Cenotaph, at the parks named after beloved community figures, on the benches named after citizens and service clubs and on the streets we continually name after local veterans. It is all bad. It hurts the soul of the community. We work to repair it whenever it happens. Wherever it happens.

The positive in all this is that it also creates the needed discussions about these issues and reminds us of the work still needed. Some other communities have seen individuals, organizations and businesses step up to donate to help with maintenance costs – thankfully this is happening here too.

It is almost like a rainbow of people committed to helping each other out despite setbacks. How very Brant.

We are moving forward and not back. Sorry not sorry. Love wins.