By Emily Norman
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Painting a playground fence rainbow should be quite a straightforward project, but the idea has ruffled a few feathers in Eketahuna.
A complaint was made against the Our Town Eketahuna project, which would see the town playground’s fence pickets painted an array of colours, slamming the concept as an inappropriate, as it would be representing the homosexual community.
Our Town spokesperson Denise Clifton said she was “genuinely surprised at the ruckus the project has caused”.
The committee received sponsorship from Resene Paints to carry out the revamp, and already has a team of volunteers ready to paint and prep the aged white pickets, bringing some colour to the town.
“For crying out loud, it’s a children’s playground,” Ms Clifton said.
“We thought bright and vibrant would be great. It’s good for the kids. It’s a playground, you know.
“It should be colourful.
“But we’ve had feedback from some people saying that they don’t like the idea of it because it’s representing the homosexual community, which is actually against the human rights.
“The rainbow is a symbol of promise, hope, and unity, you know…it’s not supposed to be tearing people apart but it seems to have done that.”
Community consultation is underway and some options that have been put forward include painting each picket a different colour or painting blocks of colours across several pickets.
Other complaints have also been made against the project saying that it does not fit in with the town’s new “rustic” theme.
But these naysayers aren’t raining on the Our Town Committee’s parade, with more than 70 signatures of support gathered from children and adults in the community.
“You can’t keep good people down, we’ll just keep going,” Ms Clifton said.
“I actually spoke to a lot of people who live in the street, who walk the town, I asked children, I asked visitors, I asked so many people and the general feedback was that it would be well-supported, so there you go.
“Who would have thought it would cause such a stir? It’s absolute madness.
“As a committee, we still want to get this project done and it would be a shame to say to Resene that we can’t do it because of whatever reason.”
Another hurdle for the project according to Ms Clifton is new health and safety policies which requires the Our Town Committee to “come up with some sort of health and safety policy for volunteers to paint a fence”.
Community consultation for the project closes on August 11.
“Hopefully after the 11th, we’ll still have a lot of people who are supportive and all for it.
“And hopefully we’ll be able to find a safe working plan for our volunteers so we can go ahead with this.”