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Politicians row about rainbow crossing alternatives in Sydney

Politicians row about rainbow crossing alternatives in Sydney

Sydney city councillor Christine Forster is suggesting a large rainbow flag to replace a rainbow road crossing that was taken away by the state government due to safety concerns.

Forster, who is the lesbian sister of Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott, said to the Daily Telegraph:

‘Let’s as a community come together to come up with a great, permanent symbol that acknowledges the community.’

The Liberal councillor, who was elected last September, suggested a large rainbow flag be placed in Taylor Square, where the rainbow crossing was, to commemorate the LGBTI community.

Sydney’s MP Alex Greenwich, who has rowed with Forster previously over the rainbow crossing, supports the idea of a permanent landmark to recognize the LGBT community but says the idea must come from the community itself.

‘I don’t think that’s a matter for any individual councillor or the Roads Minister, said Greenwich.

‘A lot of people around Oxford Street are very creative, I would like to see the community coming up with some solutions.’

The rainbow road crossing, originally put in place for Sydney Mardi Gras, was removed overnight at the order of roads minister Duncan Gay despite 16,000 people signing a petition to keep the installation permanent.

In response to the covert removal of the crossing, dozens of chalk rainbows were colored in around Sydney.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore accused Gay of acting like a ‘thief in the night’ after the removal of the rainbow crossing. She rejected his idea of painting the footpaths in the area rainbow colors.

‘When [the council has] spent millions of dollars on granite footpaths, you don’t usually go and paint them,’ said Moore.

Forster defended Gay’s decision saying: ‘I know it [the rainbow crossing] was very well-received by the community and it’s a great shame that it couldn’t be permanent, but the government decided it wasn’t safe based on the evidence’.