Shopping centre axes Christmas tree
Shoppers at one of the largest southside shopping centres say they have been visited by the Grinch after Grand Plaza at Browns Plains, ditched plans to erect its traditional Christmas tree this year.
Staff said the tree had been "substantially damaged" last year and there was not enough money the centre's budget did not extend to fixing or replacing the tree.
In later comments, centre management staff said there had been some "miscommunications" and the tree had reached its expiry date of 10 years and was now deemed unsafe.
"We've had to reduce our budget in regards to Christmas spending this year because of COVID and the impact that it's had on our industry," the centre management staff member said.
"So unfortunately, we could not purchase a new one in time for Christmas but we are looking into making sure we do have one ready for next year."
Centre manager Martine Coorey said the tree was not erected as the centre had to make extra room for people following social distancing rules.
"While we still have some of our traditional decorations, we know our display looks different this year," Ms Coorey said.
"Unfortunately, Grand Plaza's large Christmas tree had reached its expiry date after more than a decade and was not safe to have the tree installed again this year.
"Also, as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 our team has made an effort to keep floorspace clear, where possible, to ensure customers can visit us and shop with ease, maintaining a healthy distance, in line with the government regulations.
"We're pleased to be able to host Santa again this year and will welcome hundreds of families for the traditional Christmas photo while he's at Grand Plaza, until Christmas Eve."
Shoppers said they were also told findings from a recent centre management survey found shoppers did not want a tree.
Angry shopper Debra Ottway 2020 was the year the centre most needed a tree.
"We really need all the joy we can attain," she said on Facebook.
"Putting up a Christmas tree should be the start we are waiting for to have an enjoyable end of year.
"It's sad too that Santa is only available for prepaid photos, no walkins, the kids don't get to visit Santa any more to tell him what they want."
Shopper Jo-Anne Midgley likened the move to the Grinch who stole Christmas.
"Great now we get the Grinch at Christmas. What a disgrace. How do you explain that to children wanting to see it.
"I'm not doing my Christmas shopping there."
Originally published as Shopping centre axes Christmas tree