Waterloo Region Record

Woolwich council endorses suggested LGBTQ measures

Recommendations include rainbow benches, crosswalks


Woolwich council has endorsed several recommendations from its LGBTQ ad hoc working group to make the township more inclusive, including rainbow benches and Pride stickers.

The working group submitted its final report on inclusivity in Woolwich on Nov. 14, prompted in part after a former councillor made hateful comments during a council meeting in August 2022.

Ryan Hume, a member of the group, said the recommendations are important to address the fact that some people in Woolwich aren’t open to inclusion of the LGBTQ community.

“You will note that some of the members of the committee are not here and that was one of the things that I think is important for you to recognize,” Hume said.

“Because not everybody on the committee feels comfortable having their names attached to it or being on YouTube or being made public, and I think that speaks to what we’re trying to accomplish.”

But the committee allowed students who often feel unheard to use their voices and help create “a better community,” a teenage member of the group told council.

“You started off by apologizing and I do that a lot too . ... You never need to apologize for who you are,” Mayor Sandy Shantz told the teen.

By spring, the township is aiming to carry out a request by the group to install at least one Pride bench somewhere in the township at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000; more will be installed if the budget allows.

Council will also print 150 Pride stickers the township and businesses can place in the windows of their buildings.

If the sticker program is successful, the group asked the township to continue to provide them and at a nominal fee.

It may take time to implement all the group’s suggestions, not only because of budget constraints but community pushback, said Coun. Nathan Cadeau, one of two council members on the ad hoc group.

“The working group was really cognizant of the fact that maybe not everybody in the community will fully buy into this ... so it gives us an opportunity to socialize some of these ideas as well.”

Other recommendations including community murals at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000 and a professional mural costing up to $20,000. Further efforts include rainbow crosswalks at a cost of up to $25,000 and sidewalks, which could cost $10,000.

The township’s inclusion efforts — and the former councillor’s hateful remarks — were prompted after a request in 2022 from the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo-Wellington to install a rainbow crosswalk.

That councillor was not reelected in the 2022 municipal election.

Earlier this year council created a $6,000 equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging grant which provided funds for the first Woolwich Pride event and the HOPE Multicultural festival.

The working group asked that funding continue and if more requests come forward, that council consider increasing the amount available.

It also asked that the township create a staff role dedicated to equity diversity, inclusion and belonging, which council endorsed in principle but which will be part of future budget talks.

The township acted on a request from the ad hoc group to host a Pride flag-raising ceremony in June, which is Pride month. That will continue in future years.






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