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Surrey mayor says the decision to fly the Pride flag was ‘an easy one’

The Pride flag will fly at City Hall around the Surrey Pride Festival
The Pride flag will fly at City Hall for a couple of weeks in June. (File photo: Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Surrey’s mayor Brenda Locke said the decision to fly the Pride flag during Pride month was an easy one.

“It’s important that we really demonstrate that Surrey is the city for everybody,” Locke said. “Everybody in Surrey matters and we need to be inclusive, and we need to show that we’re inclusive.”

Locke added that they are also going to put a Pride flag at the front door of City Hall.

“I am committed to making sure people know June is Pride month,” Locke said.

The move is seen as a “celebration and acceptance” of the rainbow community in Surrey said Martin Rooney, president of Surrey Pride.

The city did fly the flag after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida in 2016. That week, Surrey council voted unanimously to fly the pride flag at city hall in “solidarity, sympathy and support for the LGBTQ community following the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.”

The flag remained up at city hall for several weeks until Surrey’s pride parade in June 2016.

Previous mayors and council brought up the issue of city policy for the reason the flag would not fly. That stated they only fly the three government flags, municipal, provincial and federal. That a fourth pole would need to be installed which would cost $200,000 according to the previous mayor Dianne Watts.

Locke told the Now-Leader that a new flag policy will need to be made and that a new flag pole cannot be built in such a short time. The location of the flag poles at City Hall is not ideal. She also hopes to work with the community to find a better way to fly flags for different days, like Truth and Reconciliation day.

As for where the Pride flag will fly this June, Locke said it will fly under the city flag.

The city is still finalizing with the Surrey Pride Society the exact dates the flag will fly. Locke said it will be around the time of the Surrey Pride Festival on June 24.

Locke plans to go to the festival this year. She said she goes every year, except during COVID, and often brings her granddaughter with her.

“It is such a community event and Surrey is a city of families and pride is for families and for people and all different makeups of families.”

The 24th annual Pride festival will be held at Civic Plaza. The new location was due to the intervention from Locke that they are able to host the festival at Civic Plaza instead of Central City Plaza.

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Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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