Westlock voters will be going to the polls Feb. 22 on a bylaw that would ban the town’s rainbow crosswalk, along with any other political, social or religious decorations on town crosswalks or flagpoles.
Town of Westlock councillors passed first reading of the bylaw, created in response to a petition submitted under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) at the end of September, and set the vote at their meeting Nov. 27.
The petition asked for a bylaw that would mean the town will be able to fly only its own flag, the provincial and national flags in public spaces and at town facilities. As well, crosswalks will only be painted with the traditional white laddered design, with no grandfathering of any existing crosswalks or flags that would contravene the bylaw.
Because the petition received signatures from more than 10 per cent of the town’s population, council was obligated under the MGA to give first reading on the bylaw, and from there, could decide to either hold a plebiscite or pass second and third reading of the bylaw.
A report from staff gave council the option to pass all three readings at Monday’s meeting, which would make the bylaw effective immediately, to set a date for a plebiscite tonight or to wait until council’s next meeting Dec. 11.
Council voted unanimously to give first reading and then to set the vote.
Please see www.townandcountrytoday.com and next week’s print edition of Town and County This Week for more on this story, including reactions from members of council and proponents of the petition.