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Newfoundland celebrities roast Town of Springdale for rejecting rainbow crosswalk

Mark Critch
Mark Critch

SPRINGDALE — Prominent Newfoundlanders are criticizing a town's rejection of a rainbow crosswalk sought by a high school group as a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

Comedian Mark Critch and former Great Big Sea members Alan Doyle and Bob Hallett offered support for the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Indian River High School after Springdale, N.L., town council reportedly voted 4-3 against the crosswalk.

"If you're a LBGTQ kid in Springdale, please know that there are a whole lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador that support you,'' tweeted Critch, anchor of CBC's "This Hour Has 22 Minutes."

"Inclusion never divides. Your mayor is being a tool. You're awesome."

Doyle, a successful solo artist and best-selling author, responded to Critch's tweet saying "Yes. Yes. And Yes."

Hallett, a St. John's restaurateur, said he was "half tempted to drive out to Springdale and paint the crosswalk" himself in a tweet Friday morning.

The Norwester newspaper reported that the GSA had asked that a crosswalk near the school could be painted in support of the LGBTQ community.

Springdale town councillors refused to comment Friday. But the school's GSA issued a written statement via email that the council's rejection of its April 9 request isn't the end of the story.

It said they are in the process of working together on the issue, which will come before council again on Monday.

It said members appreciate the public's support but "negative comments and name-calling are not productive,'' and said the group is committed to a "respectful, informed discussion for the betterment'' of the whole community.

"We enjoy our town of Springdale and have a good relationship with the mayor and town officials. We are ALL in the process of working together on this issue and are encouraged by the opportunity for further discussions,'' the group said.

"Thus far, those discussions have been very positive and we look forward to Monday's council meeting, where we will have the opportunity to provide further information and education to members on the concept of a rainbow crosswalk."

Cheryl Gullage, communications director for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said in a phone interview that the association is reserving further comment until after the matter is discussed with town officials.

Earlier this spring, city council in Merritt, B.C., rejected a similar request from high school groups there. Community members subsequently offered other locations for the colourful symbol of inclusion.

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