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Woof! bar co-director Dudley Benson proposed the colourful walkway during the public forum section of the Dunedin City Council’s planning and environment committee meeting on Tuesday.
Rainbow crossings, which are zebra crossings painted in colourful stripes, have been installed in other cities in New Zealand and globally as symbols of support for the rainbow community.
Mr Benson had a larger vision and said Dunedin could have a unique and the biggest rainbow crossing in the country.
He suggested a rainbow design be painted on the entire Barnes Dance crossing at the intersection of Lower Stuart St and Moray Pl, which is where Woof! bar is located.
A public symbol of support was of particular importance to youth in the city.
"Young people in Aotearoa are far more likely to suffer from mental health issues and the threat of suicide if they’re queer, or if they are trans people."
A crossing would be a small but significant way to show support for a vulnerable segment of the community and take a stand against homophobia and transphobia, he said.
Cr Steve Walker commended Mr Benson on his proposal and asked whether a crossing would have an impact on tourism.
Mr Benson said that in his personal travels he had preferred to spend time in places with outward symbols of safety and acceptance.
"There is no doubt in my mind that by having this incredible talking point ... we will be bringing more visitors to Dunedin."
Cr Lee Vandervis asked if the project was intended as art or as a political statement.
Mr Benson said that the crossing was not intended to be seen as political, but as a symbol of love.
"It’s a symbol of what we stand for, what we tolerate, and it’s an identity symbol of who we are."
At the conclusion of the meeting councillors voted for staff to discuss the proposal with Mr Benson and other stakeholders and report back to them at a future meeting.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Benson said it was important that there was consultation with the various communities under the rainbow umbrella to ensure the crossing is representative of the whole community.
A petition in support of the proposal is available to sign in Woof! bar.