CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The hate crimes coordinator with Calgary police is looking into vandalism at two LGBTQ+ crosswalks in the city’s downtown core.
Wednesday morning it was discovered that someone spray-painted the word “lost” on the Trans sidewalk and the word “lust” on the Pride sidewalk along Stephen Ave.
“As vandals targeted these specific crosswalks there are reasonable grounds for police to suspect a hate-motivated crime,” reads a statement from Calgary Police.
“Police are investigating and canvassing the area for CCTV footage and witnesses. If anyone has information about this incident please call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line.”
Efforts were immediately made by city staff to remove the graffiti and it’s since been cleaned up. Kyle Friedman, the CEO of Zoom Painting, which takes on the cost of repairing the installation for the lifetime of the crosswalk says it was repainted right away.
“The City was nice enough to try and scrub it off and prepare the surface for us this morning,” Friedman said.
— Justin Slimm (@justinslimm) August 14, 2019
‘As a city, we’re better than that’: City of Calgary disappointed at graffiti
It’s not yet known if the paint was applied overnight or early in the morning, but Sean Somers with the City of Calgary says it was disappointing to hear the news, especially so close to the launch of Pride week in Calgary.
“As a city, we’re better than that,” Somers told CityNews over the phone.
Somers said the City facilitated the installation of the crosswalks, but it is the responsibility of Zoom Painting to maintain and repair any damages or vandalism. No taxpayer dollars will be used to repaint.
Crews are closing a section of Stephen Ave. to continue cleaning up graffiti from the trans flag and the pride flag there. Someone spray painted "LOST" on the trans flag and "LUST" on the pride flag. It is not yet known who defaced the two flags. #yyc @660NEWS pic.twitter.com/jdCrWYjEz0
— Saif Kaisar (@StaySaif) August 14, 2019
He also added that they are hoping to speak with corporate security in the area to look at any possible footage which may have caught the people responsible for the spray-painting.
No one reported the case to the Calgary Police Service, and if any charges are to be laid, it would be through City Bylaw.
MP Kent Hehr took to Twitter to condemn the vandalism saying there is no place in this city for hate.
Somers said the fact that this happened so close to Pride week is unfortunate, but the fact that it happened at all is disappointing.
“I found out this morning and I was a little disappointed but not caught off guard because we were prepared for any of this to happen,” Friedman also told 660 NEWS.
“With the MRU one, there hadn’t been an act of vandalism. Originally we were advised that that was something that had happened in the past and to prepare ourselves for that and prepare ourselves for the backlash of the alternate opinions that might come along with it and the company,” Friedman added.
“There’s no cost to the city. It’s all expected that this was planned for. We already have somebody that’s almost there. We have the materials in our warehouse, so we had over-purchased so that everything would be the same colour.”
Pride in Calgary runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2.