A city council in Melbourne, Australia has voted to keep its initially-temporary rainbow footpaths on a permanent basis, following widespread support from the community.

Footpaths at a busy intersection in the City of Yarra were painted in rainbow colours earlier this month to welcome delegates to Melbourne’s International AIDS Conference, before the fatal aircrash which killed a large number of activists due to attend the conference. The community was told that the footpaths would be temporary.

They were to be displayed alongside a more permanent monument, a life-size bronze sculpture entitled ‘COURAGE’. Yarra Mayor, Councillor Jackie Fristacky, said at the time: “We have wanted to acknowledge the GLBTIQ community’s identity and contributions to Yarra through a meaningful public artwork for some time.”

It was announced today that, following a motion from Councillor Stephen Jolly, Yarra Council voted to make the rainbow footpaths permanent. When the colours begin to fade later this year, they will be repainted with high-quality long-lasting paint.

Local residents welcomed the decision, and said that having the rainbow footpaths make a positive difference to the atmosphere in their community.

Jackson Hitchcock told the Melbourne Leader: “It adds such a level of comfort and security and symbolism, that you didn’t know was missing until you saw it.

“I obviously don’t know how heterosexual men feel walking down the street, but as someone who sometimes feels a little unsafe, I know that having things on the street are a great way of making people relax and belong.”

Karl Brown told Same Same: “I thought it was really fantastic to see the City of Yarra acknowledging that there is a thriving GLBTI community in the area, and it is a fantastic thing that it is being made permanent.

“To see that it will be permanent is a bit of a privilege. To be a part of this community and see a symbol that marks us in a way that’s quite fun and low impact, but so visible and noticeable.”

Last year in Sydney, a temporary rainbow road-crossing was installed permanently, after its scheduled removal sparked objections from the LGBT community.