LISMORE residents are getting two Christmas trees this festive season, with the infamous 'bent' tree competing for attention with a one of-a-kind version made out of recycled bicycles that was installed yesterday.
This year it seems Lismore has finally embraced its quirky DIY image and simultaneously silenced critics who don't subscribe to ratepayers' money being spent on public art.
The new tree was made virtually cost-free from more than 90 old bikes from the Lismore tip which would have otherwise ended up as scrap metal.
They were welded onto a steel frame at the council metal shop and the structure was then painted in colours of the rainbow by staff and their families - in their own time.
Lismore City Council fabrication supervisor Dan Kubelka said tree was a "gift from Lismore City Council to the people of Lismore", with the majority of works staff involved in some way.
"We tried to make this something fun that got all the team involved in giving something back to the community," he explained.
The tree's lights will be lit up courtesy of solar panels donated by Nickel Energy.
The council's general manager, Gary Murphy, said the tree was a symbol of the council's values with the council "well on the way to becoming the recycling capital of this country".
"We're sustainable, we're resourceful, we're colourful, we're unique and we aren't afraid to do things differently," he said.
The reaction to the tree on the street and social media yesterday was mostly positive.
Local Michael Rossington sent a letter to The Northern Star describing it as "bloody brilliant" - and that coming from a sometime council critic.
He said it had a "wow factor" and ticked all the right boxes.
But some critics played the Christmas grinch, with one commenter on The Northern Star's website calling it "totally tasteless" and another suggesting abandoned shopping trolleys littering the drainage canals of Lismore would be better building blocks.
Mayor Jenny Dowell celebrated the creation, saying the tree was a "gift from our staff to the community at no cost to ratepayers".
"We don't go out for the plastic glitzy (trees), we go for the real ones or the recycled ones," she declared.
The mayor also hinted that the natural Christmas tree was set for a makeover with a new set of decorations.