Council Approves Rainbow Benches
The people of Moose Jaw can look forward to a splash of new colour in the downtown soon. Joe Wickenhauser, Executive Director of Moose Jaw Pride, asked Council Monday night for permission to have Moose Jaw Pride paint the City bench at 345 Main Street North in rainbow colours.
Council not only enthusiastically supported the idea, but endorsed the development of a policy that would allow other organizations in the City an opportunity to also “adopt” a bench.
Wickenhauser hoped that the bench would add colour to the downtown, raise awareness for gender diversity, and draw attention to the group’s new location where they operate a thrift shop, The Rainbow Retro Thrift Shop, and a drop in space where peer support for people who face discrimination is available.
Although most people may be more familiar with Rainbow Coloured Crosswalks, Wickenhauser noted that a Rainbow bench would be less susceptible to vandalism. He added that other communities in Canada and the United States had chosen to paint a bench. In an effort to build community and combat bullying, some communities created what he called “buddy benches” where often times when someone sat on the “buddy bench” another person would check in with them.
Mayor Tolmie noted that Moose Jaw Pride would be responsible for materials, labour and all costs associated with painting the bench as well as ongoing maintenance as needed. He suggested that administration prepare a policy to guide future bench adoptions.