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Call for deadline on "long overdue" rainbow walk

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City councillor Phillip Martin wants to impose a deadline on construction of the Light Square rainbow walk, almost six months after the council approved the project.

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The North Ward councillor told InDaily he was concerned not enough progress had been made on the symbolic walkway, to be located in the square’s north-west corner.

He said the rainbow-coloured pathway would be an important symbol of inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual and queer (LGBT) South Australians.

“Council first begun discussing this in February last year,” said Martin.

“I think it’s time we come up with the goods.

“The community is looking to see us complete the project, so that we can recognise the role (LGBT South Australians) play in this inclusive community.”

It was “a promise that we made to the LGBT community that we have not (kept)”.

He said the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in South Australia last year was “a significant milestone (that) deserved to be honoured”.

A spokesperson for the council’s administration told InDaily detailed designs for the project were underway and that the administration hoped to deliver the project before the Feast Festival late this year.

“Costing options will be brought back to a council meeting as soon as practicable,” the spokesperson said. The construction has previously been estimated to cost around $90,000.

Martin said a rainbow coloured surface had been undergoing testing at a council-owned Mile End warehouse since November last year, and that it had “stood up well” to heavy machinery driving over it, and to daily pedestrian foot traffic.

Greens Senator Robert Simms proposed the project while he was a city councillor in August 2015. He told InDaily he was also concerned about the pace of progress  since the council signed off on the idea.

“I’m just concerned that the project hasn’t seemed to get off the ground,” Simms, who is openly gay, said.

“Sometimes things do take a while at a council (administration) level.

“(However) it really would make a positive statement … leading into the festival season.”

Simms said he hoped for construction to get underway before the beginning of the festival season in March, and particularly before Feast Festival, which attracts over 50,000 people to the West End each year.

“(LGBT South Australians) don’t have, at the moment, any positive symbol… in our city,” Simms said.

“It’s an opportunity for the city to have a positive symbol that celebrates… diversity.”

The council spokesperson said no negative feedback had been received about the project from “informal early consulation” with the Adelaide College of Arts, which is adjacent the proposed location.

A spokesperson for TAFE SA, which runs the college, told InDaily it had not “been formally consulted about the Rainbow Walk proposal, but would welcome the opportunity to discuss this initiative with the Adelaide City Council”.

The council spokesperson said the Coastlands Church, which also overlooks the proposed location was “neither for nor against” the project.

Rainbow crossings first entered the international zeitgeist when a crosswalk, painted in rainbow colours to support a Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, went viral on social media, a 2015 city council paper says.

“Since then, rainbow crossings have been installed at traffic signalised locations in various areas of the USA including San Francisco, West Hollywood and Massachusetts,” it says.

InDaily contacted Coastland Church for comment.

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