Byron's yuletide tree gets chopped
The Christmas spirit may be a little bit thinner on the ground at Byron Bay this year.
Because of the costs involved, the town's peak business body, Byron United, won't be erecting its $30,000, 10-metre Christmas tree that first went up adjacent to the town clock to great acclaim in November 2007.
And it won't be going up in coming years either - Byron United has decided to sell the tree.
Executive officer, Diana Ricketts, said it cost $12,000 a year to erect the tree, take it down, store it and insure it.
Ms Ricketts said given the existing economic climate, it was getting harder to raise the money to cover the costs involved.
Hundreds of people, including many children, enjoyed the first lighting up ceremony three years ago which was a focal point of a major Byron United $100,000 Christmas campaign funded by local businesses.
It was believed to be the first community Christmas tree in the Byron Bay CBD and was credited with reclaiming a big chunk of lost community soul.
And Byron United really does want to keep that spirit alive.
“The community was absolutely delighted with the Christmas tree when it went up,” said Ms Ricketts. “We don't want to let that go. It was very special”
To that end, she said Byron United was working with Byron Council and looking at possible alternatives to the Christmas tree.
One such possibility was lighting up one, or several, of the Norfolk pines at Main Beach, she said.
While the Christmas tree won't be going up, Christmas banners will be erected around the town and Byron United will once again get right behind Carols by the Sea, set down for Main Beach on Friday, December 10.
Ms Ricketts said Byron United was putting $5000 towards the carols and Splendour in the Grass had donated $2000 for Christmas activities.