THE Santa Claus of Sanctuary Village at Lennox Head has called on Ballina Shire Council to reassess its decision not to actively promote the Christmas light-ups held in the shire.
John Moloney, who has been part of the village's light-up for 10 years and plays the role of Santa for visiting children - complete with a sleigh outside his residence - was prompted to make his comments after reading Mayor David Wright's column in last week's Advocate, in which Cr Wright said how much he enjoyed the light-ups.
Mr Moloney, stressing that he did not want "to sound like a grouch", said that in the past the council had promoted the light-ups by publishing maps, and had organised buses, in conjunction with bus companies, to take people on light-up tours.
He said the council reasoned that it was not right to promote an overuse of electricity in these times of increasing power bills.
"We have a difference of opinion here," Mr Moloney said.
He said that when people were visiting light-ups at places like Sanctuary Village, they were not using power at home.
"I reckon it at least balances out," Mr Moloney said.
He said he had not noticed any spike in his power bills after the Christmas light-up.
"Over the last three or four years, everyone has been using the LEDs, which are cheaper to run," Mr Moloney said.
"And a lot of them now are using solar power. I had five solar sets running."
Sanctuary Village light-ups have been fundraisers, through a voluntary donation system, for groups such as the fire brigade, the surf club, Ballina hospital, Our House and Biala Special School. Mr Moloney estimated that about $10,000 had been raised.
He would like to see the council help make people aware of the light-ups in the shire.
"They don't have to offer prizes - our biggest problem is letting people know what's going on," Mr Moloney said.
"It's just an awareness thing."