Gerry and Terry Bertoli in front of their Baywood Chase home illuminated by about 15,000 Christmas lights
Gerry and Terry Bertoli in front of their Baywood Chase home illuminated by about 15,000 Christmas lights

Christmas spirit takes a holiday

By GARY CHIGWIDDEN

Where was Byron Bay's Christmas spirit?

That's the question being asked by Baywood Chase couple Terry and Gerry Bertoli, who spend many hours decorating their house with thousands of lights and decorations each year for the enjoyment of others.

Terry and Gerry were disappointed that there appeared to be little effort to give the Byron Bay CBD a festive look in the lead-up to Christmas.

"Our town had no lights, no Santa cut-outs, no trees, no carnival, nothing for the locals and visitors to say it was Christmas," said Gerry.

"There is nothing more lifting to one's spirit at Christmas time than to have children come and see your home and thank you for making it so pretty.

"Many people stopped and thanked us."

And it would seem the Bertolis have a point, with Byron Bay business leaders admitting little had been done to lift the town at Christmas time.

However, it should be a different story next year.

Barry Wallace from the Byron Bay Business Group, representing CBD businesses, said there were plans being prepared to give the town a more festive appearance next Christmas.

But Mr Wallace said the plans, including a permament structure to carry lights, banners and signs, had to be finalised and presented to Byron Council for approval.

Once erected, the facility would be available for other times of the year such as the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce president, Greg Owens, said Christmas decorations were being left to individual shop owners, but he agreed it should be done on a more co-ordinated basis.

Mr Owens said he would be raising the issue with chamber members.

He said Christmas decorations were part of an overall CBD streetscape issue that had to be dealt with.


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