It didn’t take long for the freshly painted rainbow crosswalk spanning James Street to be vandalized. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

It had only been there for a short time but already the brightly painted rainbow crosswalk crossing a major artery in Duncan has been vandalized.

Dark black rubber has been burned into the eastbound lane of James Street, stretching nearly the entire way across the crosswalk and beyond.

SEE RELATED: Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk vandalized one day after installation

It’s a literal black mark on the region during a time the Cowichan Valley on display with the 2018 B.C. Summer Games being hosted July 19-22.

In town covering the B.C. Games, Black Press digital reporter Ashley Wadhwani happened to be working near the crosswalk on Thursday, June 19, when she saw a driver attempt to burn out on the crosswalk. That attempt was not successful but a day later, someone else appears to have been.

Cowichan Secondary students Madeline Moroz, Arica Windsor and Victoria Chumsa-Jones had appealed to North Cowichan council on June 6 asking that at least one sidewalk in front of Duncan’s Cowichan Secondary School be painted in rainbow colours.

After debate, council voted in favour of allowing the project — which students helped the municipality pay for — by a 5-2 vote.

SEE RELATED: North Cowichan to allow rainbow crosswalk at school

At that same council meeting, Councillor Tom Walker expressed concern about vandalism.

“Some of these crosswalks have also been targeted by vandals so are you organized enough to repair them when required?”

The students responded that they were prepared to help with costs of the painting and work with municipal staff to paint them, as well as maintaining the crosswalks when the painting is complete.

That time has come quickly.

READ MORE: Rainbow crosswalk in B.C. defaced 10 days after installation

READ MORE: Vandals target Campbell River’s rainbow crosswalk

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said the crosswalk was painted within the last few days.

“I believe we are going to have a bit of a dedication ceremony in September,” he said. “It’s unfortunate but I would be very careful to take any significance from it.”

North Cowichan spokesperson Tammy Isaachsen confirmed the operations staff has been notified and will be dispatched to assess the situation.

“I will be talking to staff and if necessary when they see it, we’ll get the paint out again,” Lefebure said.



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