COLUMN

A picture of the flag at Hillcrest Village taken on Monday. The flag was bunched up, but still visible, on Canada Day but finally removed within hours of The Herald posting a story online.

As dignitaries gathered Wednesday in Summerland under a Canadian flag to celebrate what makes the country great, a resident of a nearby apartment building displayed a much different flag that has become synonymous with hate.

Hanging from a second-storey window in the new Hillcrest Village building on Kelly Avenue was a Confederate flag, which had been creating a stir in the community since at least Monday.

Mayor Toni Boot, who was among the dignitaries at the Canada Day ceremony in nearby Memorial Park, was saddened by the sight.

“The Confederate flag was a battle flag of a group (a confederate) of Southern U.S. states that defended slavery in the American Civil War. Today, the flag is a symbol of repression, slavery and hate," she said in an email afterwards.

"It is used by white supremacy groups and is indicative of the divide that still exists along racial lines in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

“In my opinion, the public display of the Confederate flag—or any symbol of hate—has no place in Summerland."

Hillcrest Village’s manager said Wednesday she wasn’t authorized to speak to a Herald reporter or connect a Herald reporter with the tenant in question.

The 88-unit building opened earlier this year and is owned by Broadstreet Properties, which is based in Campbell River. No one from the company was available for comment Wednesday.

It’s Broadstreet Properties’ third project in the area, following a pair of Penticton apartment complexes with approximately 220 units between them.

Confederate flags aren’t illegal, but governments and organizations in the U.S. have been under heavy pressure in recent months to get rid of them. NASCAR stunned the racing world when it banned them in June, while Mississippi’s governor on Tuesday signed a bill that will eliminate the Confederate emblem from the state flag, making it the last state to do so.