The Carrier Sekani Family Services Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) has requested the support of the Village of Burns Lake town council to install a rainbow crosswalk in town.
The YAC was established by a new organization that’s coming to Burns Lake called Foundry Burns Lake, which will unite multiple partner organizations to address the health and wellness needs of young people ages 12-24 in the local area.
The YAC is made up of young people of the same age group who want to play a role in how youth services are shaped, and help create an inclusive and welcoming community in Burns Lake.
According to a letter sent by the YAC to village council, the idea behind the crosswalk is to make a powerful and supportive statement that Burns Lake is a community that supports LGBTQ+2 people. Ideally, those who identify as such will feel supported and accepted in their community as a result of the rainbow crosswalk.
The village council approved the idea in a recent council meeting on Sept. 7, but had some ideas about changing the location. The YAC initially proposed in their letter that the crosswalk be located at the bottom of Eighth Avenue, near the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Government St..
In their meeting, the council discussed the location of Third Avenue and Hwy. 16 as an alternative, because there is a higher traffic density at that location. The decision was made to discuss the location further with the YAC, and propose several other high traffic density locations as well. No final decision has been made about the project at this time.
The project is already funded and will not require a subsidy, as the work will be completed by volunteers, however the village council would be responsible for maintenance costs.
In 2015, Smithers installed a rainbow crosswalk of their own. The estimated cost of the project was $6,000.
Foundry currently has nine open centres across the province, and it was announced on June 15, 2020 that Burns Lake will be one of eight new locations added as part of an expansion project. Carrier Sekani Family Services will be operating the new Foundry centre when it opens. According to Foundry’s Facebook page, there is currently no precise time table for when that the centre will be opened as they are still working on finding a location.
Though the Burns Lake centre isn’t open yet, Foundry has a provincewide virtual service accessible by voice, video and chat for young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers in British Columbia. Their virtual services include drop-in counselling, peer support and family support, and will soon include primary care.
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