Aldergrove resident Lisa Ebenal said some of her neighbours are putting up rainbow flags of their own as a show of support after her flag was temporarily removed from her front yard by a Township of Langley employee last Friday (June 14).
So far, more than a dozen homes in the Bertrand Creek subdivision are sporting the brightly coloured flags.
“I think three more will be up today [according to people I spoke to],” Ebenal said Tuesday morning.
She placed her flag in the front yard of her home on Thursday, only to have it disappear on Friday.
“I put it up to celebrate Pride month,” Ebenal said.
“I’ve got family who are part of the community, and I’ve got friends [who are, too].”
When a Township of Langley vehicle was spotted in the area around the time the flag was taken, she said a phone call to the Township at first drew a denial that the municipality would do something like that.
But then, there was a call back that said the flag had been removed by mistake because of an anonymous complaint.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Ebenal said.
“I was actually quite shocked.”
Ebenal said the flag was returned that evening by an “apologetic” Township employee.
It was an error, according to a written statement released by the Township.
“The Township received a complaint about a flag covering what was believed to be a Township sign on a street corner indicating the entrance to a named subdivision,” the statement said.
“As signs are not normally placed on private property, a crew responded assuming that the sign was on public property and removed the flag as per standard practice.”
When they subsequently received another call that the sign was on private property, the statement said the crew “promptly returned the flag to the property owner and verbally apologized.”
Steps will be taken to prevent a repeat, the statement promised.
“The Township regrets the distress our confusion may have caused to the residents and neighbors and going forward will remind crews to check property locations of signs prior to taking action.”
Ebenal said the decorative ground-level sign was put up by the developer of the subdivision.
“It was the show home,” she explained.
“When I bought it, they offered to take it down and I said, leave it.”
She noted the sign was located well back on her front lawn, behind a garden.
“It’s recessed on my property,” Ebenal observed.
“They [the crew] certainly acted without doing due diligence,” she added.
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Ebenal said it was actually the second time in a week that a pride flag had been taken from her front yard .
“It [the first flag] went missing on a sunny Sunday afternoon,” she said, around the same time of day the second flag was taken.
“I was angry. I thought, well, I’ll just put up another one.”
A resident of the neighbourhood who described himself as one-half of a “35-years-married” gay couple said the township “screwed up royally.”
“Say that was a Canada flag, would the city come and remove it [if there was a complaint]?” said the man, who asked not to be named.
“Would they act to remove a Christmas flag if somebody called and said they don’t believe in Christmas?” he added.
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