Last year Byron Bay had a Christmas tree but this year council has rejected requests to help fund the tree’s erection and dismantling. Local business will now pick up the tab.
Last year Byron Bay had a Christmas tree but this year council has rejected requests to help fund the tree’s erection and dismantling. Local business will now pick up the tab.

Byron United comes to aid of party

BYRON Bay business group Byron United have promised to get the town’s Christmas tree up this year in spite of the council’s lack of support.

There were fears the tree would not be erected because of a council decision last week to knock back requests for $10,000 in funding toward the project, as well as traffic management during the tree’s erection and dismantling. The requests followed a shortfall in donations from businesses this year, who cited tough economic times.

But Byron United Executive Officer Diana Ricketts said members were committed to getting the tree up in the town centre on November 27 and would do whatever was necessary to make it happen.

“We will ensure we don’t let the community down,” she said.

Mrs Ricketts said the group would also be hosting its annual Carols by Candlelight at the beachfront on December 11.

Meanwhile, the council has defended its decision not to help with the tree, saying the management of public infrastructure over the Christmas period was council’s highest priority.

Council’s executive manager of asset management services, Phil Holloway, said the pressure on public infrastructure at this time of year was extremely high as the town filled with holiday makers.

“This year council has committed an additional $35,000 towards public infrastructure management and safety initiatives in managing the impact of schoolies.

“We are also coordinating a New Years Eve market in Apex Park at Main Beach Byron Bay, busking program and amusement rides, count down and providing additional toilets cleaning and garbage collection. The cost of this evening alone is approximately $25,000.

“If community groups require funding support ... the best vehicle is to plan forward and apply for funding under the Section 356 Community Donations in April.”

“Whilst council endeavours to help where it can, budgeting resources are limited,” he said.

At last week’s council meeting, Mayor Jan Barham also suggested a permanent sculpture would be a preferable and more cost effective alternative to Byron United’s plastic tree, which has to be stored, erected and dismantled each year.

 What other councils spend:

  • Lismore City Council ($12,500)

– CBD is decorated with banners, tinsel, bells and ribbons.

– Pine tree on the roundabout at Keen and Woodlark Sts decorated.

  • Ballina Shire Council ($3500)

– CBD decorated with banners

  • Richmond Valley Council (no figure available)

– CBD decorated with banners.

(More extensive decorations including the town Christmas tree were abandoned a few years ago due to public liability concerns).



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