Surrey's rainbow sidewalk vandalized ahead of Pride Week
Surrey's first rainbow crosswalk was vandalized over the weekend, less than two weeks after it was installed. (Twitter/MumofThreeBC)
Police are investigating after Surrey's first-ever rainbow sidewalk was vandalized just days before the start of Pride Week in the city.
The sidewalk at Old Yale Road and University Drive, near Holland Park, was found splattered with what appears to be white paint over the weekend.
The colourful crosswalk was installed less than two weeks ago as a show of support with the city's LGBTQ community.
"The crosswalk was intended to send a message that Surrey is a community that values inclusivity and acceptance," said Ray Kerr, manager of engineering operations for the city.
"It's sad to see that somebody would actually go to the trouble of defacing public property this way."
On Monday, Surrey RCMP confirmed the incident is being investigated as an act of mischief.
While the timing of the vandalism and the act itself suggest a potential hate crime, Cpl. Elenore Sturko said until the culprit is identified, investigators do not want to speculate about the motivation.
"If there is any evidence that it's a hate crime then we will look at that," Sturko said. "It's certainly disappointing to see something like this."
The crosswalk was installed on June 14 on an $8,500 budget that's expected to pay for five years of upkeep. The price tag reportedly ruffled feathers among a few people in the community.
Fortunately, with any luck the graffiti will be cleaned before Surrey's Pride Week starts on Tuesday, and at no additional cost to the city.
Kerr told CTV News that the same crew that removes graffiti daily has been dispatched to clean off the crosswalk with high-pressure steam, and that the work should be done before the day is out.
The white paint used to vandalize the crosswalk was likely latex or acrylic, Kerr said, and the crosswalk itself was done in methyl methacrylate, a durable paint used for road markings.
That means the rainbow shouldn't need to be repainted once the vandalism is removed, and the cleaning process won't actually cost the city any additional resources.
"The staff would have been dealing with graffiti elsewhere in the city," Kerr said.
Surrey's Pride Week ends on Saturday with a large family-friendly event in Holland Park, adjacent to the crosswalk. Organizers have not responded to a request for comment on the vandalism.