It’s time to find out what’s at the rainbow debate’s end.
The Nambucca Heads and Valla Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to paint a rainbow footpath outside the Nambucca Heads Police Station generated a lot of interest from the public.
A total of 366 votes were cast in the Guardian’s ‘Rainbow Walk’ poll which closed on Monday at noon.
The question posed to the public was: ‘Would you like to see a rainbow walk in Nambucca Heads?’.
The poll returned a resounding ‘yes’ with nearly two-thirds of voters in favour of the proposal.
A total of 225 people or 61.48% voted for the walk, and 138 people or 37.7% voted against.
It seems that most people have strong opinions either way, with only three people indicating that they were undecided on the matter.
And the comment thread underneath the article on social media served as further evidence of the diverse spectrum of opinion that people harboured on the issue.
Many Guardian readers strongly supported the idea.
“People love to visit places high in public amenity, high in public festivities, and high in empathy and tolerance. This is fun, safe, colourful and has positive social impacts. It's a YES for me,” Susan Jenvey said.
And there were some who agreed with the idea of a rainbow, but not its association with the LGBTIQ community.
“I love the idea, I love all ideas that create tourism as long as safety & the budget is considered and if it's going to happen be sure to include the entire shire - not just focus on one town,” Tina Midson Matley said.
“I also LOVE rainbows but hate that everyone refers to rainbows as a gay pride symbol now :( .
“A rainbow is a rainbow and should not be treated as symbolic to anything other than bright, colourful & cheerful.”
Some were concerned that the idea was a political ruse pushing an agenda and not about increasing tourist dollars in the local economy.
“Yeah, and everyone who sees it for the political stunt that it is, will just drive right past the joint. How's that any good for business?” Beau Cubis asked.
“You’re bloody JOKING! We’re not Moor's Sydney. I hope Macksvile Commerce's not this mad.” Clive Ward said.
A couple of comments raised concern that the footpath would attract graffiti vandalism.
Many of the contributors of comments opposed to the rainbow walk mistook the idea as a council initiative, rather than as a proposal generated and funded by the Nambucca Heads and Valla Chamber of Commerce, and used the opportunity to have a spray about alleged misallocation of ratepayer funds.
There were also some suggestions about alternate ways the Chamber could attract tourists.
“Help pay shop owners to do the front of their shops up so people want to spend their money in there,” Brad Fenner said.
“I don't see how painting a gay rights rainbow—because lets be for real that's the only reason they are doing it—is going to boost tourism for the next 10/20/30 years.
“Why not paint a big Aussie flag or some traditional Aboriginal paintings or something about Nambucca like where the rivers meet the sea?”
At their August 31 meeting, council decided to defer the decision over approval for the rainbow walk until the same-sex marriage postal survey had finalised.
While residents should receive their ballot papers imminently, the counting isn’t expected to start until November, so it will be a while until we hear the council’s verdict for the Nambucca Heads rainbow walk.