Fresh paint has been added to the Pride flag crosswalk in downtown Gananoque after volunteers and the Rainbow Connection Committee of the Thousand Islands responded to most recent defacing.
“We just felt that it had to be put back to pristine, with no black marks across it,” said Lynn Prestell, organizer of the Rainbow Connection Committee of the Thousand Islands.
She said they felt a need to make the Pride flag crosswalk look the way it did when it was newly painted in late July and have hopes that going forward the crosswalk doesn’t get defaced again.
Roughly 15 volunteers came out to help repaint the Pride flag crosswalk, and many community members and residents have offered to purchase more paint or contribute funds for new paint, said Prestell.
“Someone in our community felt the need to lay rubber across it,” said Prestell as she explains why the crosswalk is being repainted for a second time, “and make it not look as nice and pretty as a rainbow should be.”
The repainting began at 10 a.m. on Monday, and each time the crosswalk has been painted it takes approximately three hours to complete.
“It looks fabulous,” said Prestell, who had to oversee the rainbow crosswalk painting, instead of assisting with painting, because of an injury.
Prestell said she understands that normal wear and tear from everyday drivers passing over the crosswalk on Park Street will happen and she hopes the next time they have to paint the Pride flag is in the following year to only touch up the paint.
“We want the LGTBQ+ community to know that we won’t stand for it, and we fully support them and stand behind them,” said Gananoque Police Chief Scott Gee.
On Aug. 2, a driver had been observed spinning his pickup truck tires over the rainbow flag crosswalk. A Lansdowne man has since been charged with mischief under $5,000, and faces a Highway Traffic Act charge of stunt driving. He is to appear in court at a later date.
“This will not be OK in this community,” said Prestell.
The Pride flag crosswalk had been repainted earlier this month after a similar incident, after which a 56-year-old Leeds and the Thousand Islands man was charged with mischief and stunt driving.
“Our police services won’t tolerate the Pride flag being defaced,” said Gee.
He added the Gananoque police service has resources in place to keep the public accountable.
The Rainbow Connection Committee of the Thousand Islands and volunteers is prepared with extra paint if the crosswalk is defaced, but hopes that going forward it doesn’t happen again.
“We have enough paint to do it again and again,” said Prestell.
By: Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter