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Renfrew, Ont. installs first rainbow pride crosswalk

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The town of Renfrew has installed its first pride crosswalk.

The crosswalk was installed overnight Tuesday and is located out front of town hall at Raglan Street and Railway Avenue.

It is a symbol that has been a long time coming for Renfrew Pride founder Chris Kyte.

"We have been working on this for two years, but this is huge and we are so happy to see it," she tells CTV News.

Kyte explains that the crosswalk's installation has been a point of contention that Renfrew Pride has been fighting for, having faced opposition from members of the town's council.

CTV News previously reported that some local councilors were in favour of the town taking a stance of neutrality, avoiding any kind of declaration. Ultimately, it was a motion that did not receive the required support.

"There were two councilors that agreed that they would support the crosswalk and changed their minds when it came down to it," says Kyte. "And I think it's because of that small group of voices that oppose this."

In the end, Renfrew's pride crosswalk was approved by a vote of 4-3.

"Council's hesitation and some of our community leaders have kind of been nervous and backed off of it. But I think that in time they'll come back around and support it publicly."

The town is currently flying the pride flag for the month of June and previously dedicated a pride bench, which is located permanently near the crosswalk.

Renfrew mayor Tom Sidney says they are the kind of steps that the town needs to keep taking forward.

"It's just sort of the old mindset, and I think we're trying to bring Renfrew forward and we want to make sure that everybody feels safe and welcoming and included," Sidney said.

"[The crosswalk is] just a symbol that says Renfrew, we're proud of our town, we're proud of our people, and we want you to be welcomed and secure here."

The pride crosswalk will remain as a permanent fixture in the town going forward.

Renfrew Pride says they paid for the $3,300 project through fundraising and donations.

Kyte adds that she and the rest of the local pride community are prepared for any negative reactions.

"The fact is, if they vandalize it, if they damage it, they're only proving why it's needed, and we'll just repaint it."

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