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Walking on broken glass

I very much would have preferred to devote time congratulating School District No.

I very much would have preferred to devote time congratulating School District No. 46 (SD46) on its move to paint a rainbow sidewalk at Chatelech Secondary, making SD46 the first government body I know of on the Coast to have gone permanently rainbow – even beating the District of Sechelt, which recently voted in favour of a rainbow crosswalk on Cowrie. As a queer woman, it warmed the cockles of my prismatic heart.

I also enjoyed reading nearly 20 names included Wednesday on the school district’s Facebook post – the staff, teachers and volunteers involved in the effort. I read that list all the way down to Mia Saunders from Custom Carpets who donated the paint for the project and SD46 employee Jeremy Chesworth who did “a great job” of painting it.

That post was shared a modest six times and had garnered four comments by Coast Reporter deadline.

Sadly, no amount of rainbow crosswalks is going to colour over the controversy caused by the kaleidoscope of refuse strewn across sports fields at seven SD46 schools.

The notice alerting parents that a “topdressing” applied to the soil was contaminated with “shredded plastic and even some glass and ceramic materials” was posted Tuesday and has been shared 140 times.

One fact conspicuously absent from that notice, and which is made overwhelmingly apparent in the 35 justifiably upset post comments, is the name of the contractor.

It’s not a nice story. Basic questions remain unanswered about how long cleanup will last, the expected cost of the damage, how the contaminated composite material wasn’t flagged by facilities in the first place, and how the fields will be deemed safe if an entire do-over isn’t required.

Nobody comes out looking good, and if named, the contractor could stand to have their reputation spoiled for longer than it takes to clean up what local groundskeeping specialist Jason Haines has called a “nightmare.”

I asked the school district a couple times the name of the contractor they hired and was told, “our investigation continues.” I was also told they could be protected by “contractual confidentiality” and so the name of the business may never be released.

If a non-disclosure agreement is in place, the contractor will remain protected from public scrutiny. It’s a shame they can’t take a lesson from the LGBTQ2 community and out themselves.