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Westlock Votes Yes To Flagpole and Crosswalk Bylaw

In a closely contested vote Thursday Night, residents of the Town of Westlock opted to pass the proposed Crosswalk and Flagpole Bylaw.

With a narrow margin of 663 votes in favour to 639 against, the decision mandates the removal of the pride crosswalk painted earlier in June and ceases the practice of flying the pride flag in the downtown core.

The plebiscite, held on Thursday, February 22, emerged from a resident-led petition presented to the Town Council in October 2023. Under the provincial Municipal Government Act, Westlock Council was obliged to either adopt the Crosswalk and Flagpole Bylaw or refer it to a binding community vote.

"Despite our reservations about the implications of this bylaw, the plebiscite's outcome is binding," remarked Mayor Jon Kramer in a press release. "While it restricts certain expressions of support, such as the rainbow crosswalk and flag, our dedication to fostering a welcoming and inclusive community remains unwavering. We will continue to find alternative means to demonstrate our support for marginalized groups, ensuring that Westlock remains a beacon of acceptance and unity."

The bylaw, as endorsed by the majority of voters, mandates that only federal, provincial, and municipal flags can be flown on town-owned flagpoles, and all local crosswalks must adhere to the standard white-striped pattern between parallel white lines.

Consequently, the rainbow-colored crosswalk, once a symbol of solidarity with the 2SLGBTQ+ community, will be removed in compliance with the new regulations.

"The Town of Westlock acknowledges the community's engagement in this democratic process," stated Simone Wiley, Chief Administrative Officer for the municipality. "We have adhered to the Municipal Government Act and appreciate the participation of both residents and staff in ensuring a smooth and lawful transition."

More to come...


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