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Dunedin City councillors gave near universal backing for the concept of a rainbow pedestrian crossing in the city yesterday.
Cr Mike Lord was absent and sent an apology.
Councillors voiced strong opposition to Cr Vandervis’ comments in opposition to the crossing.
He had questioned the cultural and artistic merits of the project, and said the concept was not an original one as rainbow crossings existed in other cities. He said it was ‘‘quite seriously a piece of ridiculous PC virtue signalling’’.
Cr Jim O’Malley agreed a rainbow crossing was virtue signalling but only from the point of view that it sent a signal of support for the LGBTQ community, and it was virtuous to send such a signal.
Cr Steve Walker said calling the crossing unoriginal was a weak argument against its creation and rainbow crossings in other cities had been bright, welcoming and modern additions that had become tourist attractions.
Cr Christine Garey said statistics around mental health issues in the LGBTQ community made supporting the crossing a ‘‘no-brainer’’ and she was proud to be part of a council that predominantly supported being a welcoming city.
She said Cr Vandervis’ comments were ‘‘offensive and embarrassing in 2021 in our city’’.
The final location for the crossing has not been decided, but yesterday’s decision confirms it will be placed in either the city’s cultural and entertainment quarter or its creative quarter, as defined by the council’s centre city plan.
The cultural and entertainment quarter includes the Octagon, the northern parts of Moray Pl and Stuart St and the railway station area, while the creative quarter includes the southern part of Moray Pl, Princes St and surrounding streets to the south of the Octagon.