Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

‘A SENSELESS CRIME’ – Whitehorse RCMP have opened an investigation after a driver used his spinning tires to vandalize the rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and Third Avenue.

Crosswalk vandalism stirs ‘anger, disbelief’

Whitehorse RCMP are asking for the public’s help

By Stephanie Waddell on June 14, 2017

Whitehorse RCMP are asking for the public’s help as they investigate vandalism to the rainbow pride crosswalk the city installed at Third Avenue and Main Street.

Black tire tread marks were left across the crosswalk, which was installed last week just before pride weekend.

Another crosswalk showing the blue, pink and white transgender flag just across the street from the rainbow sidewalk was also installed in the lead-up to the weekend events.

“We’ve opened a file,” RCMP spokeswoman Coralee Reid confirmed this morning.

While there’s not a lot of information available yet on the matter, she said, officers are hoping anyone who witnessed the incident will contact the Whitehorse detachment and provide information.

Mayor Dan Curtis said today he’s heard from many in the community expressing “anger, disappointment, disbelief” since the skid marks were purposely laid down.

Reports began circulating about a white pickup leaving the tread marks after doing a burnout on the crosswalk, then returning later to do the same in the other direction.

“It’s a senseless crime,” Curtis told the Star.

He also expressed his anger and disappointment over the incident. He noted his hope that the RCMP will be able to press charges in the matter.

The numerous calls he’s gotten from residents asking to help clean up the marks include one from Community Services Minister John Streicker.

The response has assured the mayor that overall, Whitehorse is a supportive community that celebrates diversity, and that those who commit such vandalism are a very small segment of the population.

Curtis said city staff are using the mechanized sweeper to try to get rid of the marks, though he noted some of the rubber is burned onto the road, damaging it.

After the marks are removed as much as possible, the strips will be repainted.

The incident, the mayor stressed, has emphasized the need to celebrate the city’s diversity.

Next year, he hopes the city will be able to feature the pride flag and trans flag across all four corners of Third and Main.

This year, the city wasn’t able to get the more permanent paint for the trans flag as for the pride flag, so it’s anticipated the pride flag will likely remain in place longer.

Next year, Curtis has been assured, the more permanent colours for both flags will be available for the crosswalks.

Meanwhile, the tire marks are drawing attention on social media.

Chase Blodgett, who heads up the All Genders Yukon group for those exploring gender identity and expression, tweeted: “RCMP investigating burnout. @YukonRCMP hope it’s being investigated as hate crime!”

A reply to Blodgett’s tweet highlighted a similar incident which happened to the transgender flag crosswalk in Lethbridge, Alta. earlier this week.

Comments (42)

Up 3 Down 4

Charles on Jun 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm

I drove across this thing for the first time today. It is not clearly identifiable as a crosswalk for those who are not familiar with one being there and not as visible as a crosswalk should be, until the last minute. It is possible that the tire marks were left by someone who had to stop in a hurry because if I were intent on vandalizing I certainly wouldn't be burning up my tires to do it. The familiar black & white crosswalk, Zebra or Panda crossing (I hope the names are not offensive to Zebras and Pandas) is Internationally recognized. To me this nonsense is a safety issue; there are other places in town to display rainbows. Elmer is right, pay attention and fix the other crosswalks that are in need of b/w paint.

Up 24 Down 9

doug martens on Jun 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm

My my aren't we a touchy lot! All the hand wringing over a rubber mark! And wouldn't it actually have been more appropriate to paint a Cross on the Crosswalk? Get it? "Cross" Crosswalk? Because actually there are probably more Christians in Whitehorse than transvestites.

Up 25 Down 11

Let's not jump to conclusions on Jun 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

Regardless of the reason this person did this -- after all, isn't it innocent until proven guilty?? -- this is vandalism and at minimum should be treated as such. Maybe it wasn't a hate crime. For all we know, it could have been a bored kid trying to make their mark and maybe didn't realize symbolism in their actions. Any time we get anything nice or different in this town, someone eventually damages it.

Just thinking of other angles.

Up 56 Down 8

I Want A Heterosexual Crosswalk on Jun 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

YukonMax; yes there has been so much persecution of the LGBTTQ community in Yukon, it's only within the last decade that the 'LGBTTQ only' building entrances and drinking fountains were removed, and the mobs of slack jawed yokels wandering the streets of Whitehorse trying to find LGBTTQ people finally came to an end. I hope you got the sarcasm there as it was fully intended. As a Yukoner I am so tired of hearing anyone and everyone playing the poor me oppression card when the fact is we all have been enjoying living life in one of the most open, free, tolerant, accepting and inclusive jurisdictions on earth. I have had many gay friends here since the 70's, they knew they were gay, everyone else knew they were gay, and they were accepted and treated no differently than anyone else when they came out so let's not try and say they were, ok? Some of us didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday...

Up 56 Down 15

Sick of special interest groups on Jun 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

The more these special interest groups whine about nonsense like this, the more divided we become as a society. I don't care of you are gay, straight, black, white, Christian, Muslim, etc. We are all human so just stop going on about your differences already. P.S. Rainbows belong to everyone, since when does the gay community own them? And is a rainbow crosswalk really a smart use of our tax dollars? I think not.

Up 10 Down 32

Still looking for a pic of the truck that did it on Jun 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Let's get the pictures of the truck that did it out on social media. For the person who said it was posted on FB, where can we find it? It will continue if the RCMP doesn't get involved. Look across Canada at the rainbow crosswalks that have been vandalized with burnouts. Copycat rednecks here in the Horse...maybe they'll start their own gang: 'Against the Rainbow'. I am appalled and I want to know whodunit. The teen in Alberta caught doing this had to apologize and pay for the damage. Crime=common sense consequence.

Up 26 Down 38

YukonMax on Jun 17, 2017 at 10:44 am

@I Want A Hetero Crosswalk!
Pride was not born of a need to celebrate LGBTTQ*, but the right to exist without persecution.
So instead of wondering why there isn't a "Straight Pride" movement, be thankful you don't need one.
"Pride Winniped"

Up 16 Down 43

Yukoner31 on Jun 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

I don't know why this act of ignorance created any 'disbelief'. Do people really think there aren't any bigoted hateful people in Yukon anymore?
I mean just look at the recent vote in the legislature. The Yukon Party voted against gay rights, so its clear that these types of attitudes are alive and well even in this day and age.

Acceptance of those who are different won't fully happen until another generation passes. They are simply stuck in their old ways and religious books.

Up 44 Down 11

Dave on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Jonathan, your statement just about brought a tear to my eye, oh wait no it didn't. I must admit however I'm in awe of your big words like heteronormative,I guess all us simple folk who don't rate our own special crosswalk should be impressed by your obviously superior intellect.

Up 19 Down 42

Alan Trail on Jun 16, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Well said Jonathan Colby!

All the thumbs down to your comments reinforces your comment that reads"This town. Whew. Real classy stuff, folks. "

Up 40 Down 57

Jonathan Colby on Jun 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

"Shoved down our throats."
"Shoved down our throats"
"Where's my crosswalk?"

Written by people who have never had anything actually shoved down their throats before, and whose heteronormative life prevents them from being at a much higher risk to be harassed, beaten, raped, or murdered for living authentically.

This town. Whew. Real classy stuff, folks.

This isn't about "SJWs" and "outrage." You can't honestly be that obtuse. This is about directed disrespect, either against the inclusive message or against the newly painted, take your pick. And heavens knows, it wouldn't hurt to start looking to quell some of the flagrant, high octane disrespectful behaviour that we all can witness everyday on our roads.

Catch the little s**t, make him repaint the crosswalk, and spray paint his truck like a skittles package.

Up 68 Down 11

drum on Jun 15, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Nothing to do with this but about tolerance of others and paid by us tax payers. I cannot use our wonderful trail along the river in Whitehorse (as a senior citizen) because of being nearly hit by ignorant bike riders who come up behind you and give you no warning before they barely miss hitting you and groups of drunk people who scare you. My safety is more important than a painted crosswalk.

Up 54 Down 12

Bylaw Bob on Jun 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I want to know if somebody is crossing the rainbow and they get smoked by some tourist who think the person is jaywalking are they really at fault? Is this now really a cross walk? I looked at all the info on line and what's available at MVB, can't seem to find any cross walk signs that show those colors. Be careful changing nationally recognized road signs for what ever reason, liability could be huge!

Up 26 Down 14

Tram on Jun 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm

The way to deal with the marks is simply to wash them off and repaint. The next time it is vandalised you fix it again. You never stop fixing it, you never give in.
Your outrage is meaningless, only your resolve matters.

Up 65 Down 10

Reality check on Jun 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

This is a joke, right???

Up 36 Down 59

Rusty on Jun 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm

The crosswalk is a harmless way for the city to show support for the LGBTQ community. Why are so many people against it? If the city painted a First Nations design and the sidewalk and someone did a burnout on it there would be universal outrage. This is no different. Try and show some respect for people who are different than you.

Up 49 Down 19

ProScience Greenie on Jun 15, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Anyone with the smallest small ‘l’ libertarian streak shouldn’t give a darn about where another person sits on the gender and sexual orientation spectrum. Live and let live and all that. Those with fiscal concerns about it all have some valid points but it’s probably just pennies in cost to each taxpayer. Lots of bigger wastes out there.

Can’t blame anyone for being tired of the endless petty outrageous outrage of the SJW crowd. Those people are never happy. As bad as social conservatives that way and just as authoritarian.

For you people that are scared of LGBT people, especially some harmless chick that wants to be male or whatever, perhaps you should look at leaving Canada to go live in some theocratic country to be with people more like yourselves.

To whoever trashed the rainbow crosswalk, it’s not hate, most likely it’s just raw low IQ ignorance. Go get a life.

Up 33 Down 19

Which FB post is it on? I have an idea of who dunit on Jun 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Which FB post is it on? I have an idea about a driver of a white truck that would have done this, thinking his youthfulness will let him get away with it...I am sick of people driving like as%$oles and hate crime or no, you do burnouts on main street, you need to be charged. There's cameras on main street, from the top building where this happened. Anybody asked RBC to take a look at the camera up there? Sick of coal rolling, red necked, ignorant, spoiled thug behaviours.

Up 38 Down 22

Josey Wales on Jun 15, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Hey Bob....your post is laced with a clear dose of your own prejudice.
Given your moral outrage with this issue, why don't you leave...for a community better suited to your needs?
This place is a criminal infested s**thole, but our citizens are not all yokels.
We are not all gay, we are clearly not all sharing your level of moral outrage, clearly not as virtuous as you are....diversity of opinions not good for ya?
Not certain how long of a walk it is back to whatever part of " north of Toronto " you might have came from.
But do know the walk has a low carbon footprint, to offset the signature that beloved rainbow is made from, adhered with, and gotta love that fracked fuel used to fuse it.....in COMPLETE hypocrisy by the geniuses in our hall.

Up 35 Down 17

Louyse on Jun 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Maybe they hit the brakes for an animal or a pedestrian or someone not paying

Up 40 Down 25

moe on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Bob: "Why help you slack-jawed yokels make money when I can just leave this town and support less redneck towns? ... I'm embarrassed to be staying here."
See ya, Bob! Go find some other place to play your silly Mr. Superior and Sophisticated in. You won't be missed and neither will your 'tourist dollars'.

Up 29 Down 39

Jane Smith on Jun 15, 2017 at 10:06 am

What a scummy thing to do.

Up 26 Down 2

Check Facebook on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:59 am

A picture of the truck doing the damage was posted on facebook a couple of days ago.

Up 20 Down 74

Bob on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:54 am

It's shameful that such ignorance is not only celebrated, but also being minimized and passed off as a "burnout". Spitting is also a petty crime and doesn't bother most, until you spit on the Canadian flag. This is small town ignorance and really makes me not want to spend my tourist dollars here.
Why help you slack-jawed yokels make money when I can just leave this town and support less redneck towns?
Just a little burn out? Just the tip? Grow up city of children. I'm embarrassed to be staying here.

Up 59 Down 17

JACK on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Everyone knows painted asphalt is ideal for burnouts!

Up 57 Down 14

JACK on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm

Cars have tires......

Up 79 Down 15

just pandering for votes on Jun 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Let's paint every crosswalk with different designs to pander to every special interest group. It buys more votes, why not?

Up 70 Down 5

June Jackson on Jun 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Personally, I couldn't care less about a crosswalk. But this got more ire here and on FB, (ire..not amount of posts) than when a body was found on the river bank. My tax dollar hard at work.

Up 28 Down 52

Intent is everything on Jun 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Idiots, dimwits or haters, who cares, they clearly intended to damage this symbol of tolerance and support. They should be charged, so that way we can see their name on the court docket, watch them in court and see their name printed. That way they and others will think twice about their cowardly act of vandalism and intolerance.

Up 16 Down 41

Andrew on Jun 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Dallas. Your homophobia is showing. How about investigating all crimes not just the ones that disturb you personally.

Up 90 Down 16

Joe smith on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Quit shoving this crap down out throats, most of us don't care. Do whatever you want with your own life, don't shove it on us.

Up 43 Down 12

Alan Trail on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Mr. Mayor

Can you also fix the ignorance around trails. No enforcement to speak of and people making as much noise as they can from 7pm to 2am. Now that is a crime.

Up 65 Down 25

jc on Jun 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

When the gay community is offended, it is a pity. When the non gay community is offended, it is a crime. How things change. I'm not gay, but much of what the gay community does offends me. So send me to jail. I still have a right to my opinion.

Up 72 Down 19

Johnny on Jun 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm

This is beyond ridiculous. We going to investigate every rubber left on every crosswalk in town? That is basically what this boils down to. It isn't a hate crime, so it is damage to property...or should I say damage to paint. Paint you drive on...with a car...with rubber tires.
The paint is a waste of money anyway.
What a joke.

Up 85 Down 20

I Want A Hetero Crosswalk! on Jun 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Seriously, why does this one group of people rank flags and painted crosswalks in the first place? I'm heterosexual, so why don't I get a flag and painted crosswalk to celebrate my sexuality too? And it's dangerous that a majority of crosswalks in town have no paint on them whatsoever since it's long since worn away which is a major safety issue, however precious time and resources are being wasted on this. Mayor Curtis, since you're so concerned maybe you can send crews to paint all crosswalks properly as required by law before the city is responsible for getting someone hit and killed.

Up 82 Down 10

Tom W on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Holy smokes, this is being blown out of proportion! The mayor is also not helping by blowing things out of proportion. It's not a hate crime. It's silly kids causing public mischief. I'd like to see people react this same way with all the rest of the public mischief that happens in this town...in fact, we should be flipping out at all the other non-painted crosswalks. That's an accident waiting to happen for a child crossing the street. How about we also see people flip out about the millions the City is spending on their new building by the airport? How about we also flip out about all the vehicle break-ins that have been happening. The next time I see graffiti on the side of a heritage building or spilled paint on the public roadway, I will be expecting this Mayor to call in the armed forces for damage control. Use some common sense.

Up 89 Down 29

Damien Langkow on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Maybe people are actually getting sick of having this stuff shoved down their throats? Guess what? The whole city isn't gay and the whole city doesn't agree with this, so why should they have to put up with rainbow cross walks.

Up 42 Down 13

Josey Wales on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Guess someone does not like being socially engineered?
Seems Mr. Mayor you tolerate ignorance and prejudice directed to your peasants as I have not read of any high level dismissals yet?

....but given my tenacity we soon will...remains to be seen.
To any smart folks here paying attention may see I do not like arrogant pushy political windbags and their ilk in senior management.
....and I wish to further illustrate that, as I just did?
A hate crime eh chase? You should get over yourself.

Up 133 Down 7

Elmer Vasko on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

AHEM - Mister Mayor
When you fix this could you also repaint the crosswalks on second and fourth avenue ?
I'm tired of playing "dodge the blind pickup truck driver" every time I try to use one of them.

Up 138 Down 16

Dallas Schaber on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Cry me a river lol I'm sure the RCMP have better things to do than investigate this. With drug dealers, theft and murdered and missing native women i'm sure they will jump right on this. lol

Up 76 Down 14

Alan Trail on Jun 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm

I would say its ignorance and intolerance rather than hate crime but that's just my opinion.

“It’s a senseless crime,” Curtis told the Star. Yes, this is so true.

Up 128 Down 12

Nile on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:56 pm

I will probably get voted down for this but let's not be hasty labelling this a hate crime. They could just be idiots doing senseless vandalism. Not out of hate just pure stupidity. That being said, they should have to pay to fix it.

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