1 min

Holmes evasive about support for gay village

Councillor silent when questioned about opinion

She wants the gay community to remember that she arranged a February meeting to hear their demands for a rainbow village on Bank St. But city councillor Diane Holmes is keeping mum about whether she actually supports the idea.

Holmes was a guest on the Apr 4 edition of Talk Ottawa, a live televised program on Rogers. The topic that night: whether there should be a rainbow village on Bank St. Callers from all over the Ottawa region were invited to provide feedback and ask questions. One caller asked Holmes what her position was for making the gay district on Bank St more visible. Holmes avoided answering the question. Instead, she noted the February public consultation with the gay community, the public advisory committee for the detailed design to be formed in 2008 and the role of the Bank St Promenade Business Improvement Area in deciding what changes will be made to the street.

In a follow-up interview with Capital Xtra, Holmes again avoided directly answering the question of whether she supports creation of a rainbow village during reconstruction of the street.

“I am in favour of there being something that delineates the area,” says Holmes. “I’m for some interesting designs that would be on the street. We’ll see. Rainbow flag stands or a rainbow on street signs. I would be interested in having that come forward.”

When it was pointed out to Holmes that “delineates the area” is a vague answer, she agreed.

“It’s going to have to be vague because it’s two years until we talk about the detail design. I’m looking forward to the discussion we will have in 2008 about the final design. I’m expecting there will be representatives from the [GLBT] community on that detailed design committee at that time.”

Creating a rainbow village won’t be easy, says Holmes.

“Generally, the BIA pays for extra things on the street. We’ll see whether the committee might be interested in asking the city to pay for that. In the days of Preston St, when we put up the Italian name ‘Corso Italia’, it was the region that paid for that sign because it was a regional road,” says Holmes. “If the BIA has to pay a special fee to add something on the street signs, I would certainly be voting for that, but there are other members.”