TREE CHOPPED: The lights won’t be shining at Byron Bay this Christmas. Hundreds of people enjoyed the first Christmas tree lights in 2007.
TREE CHOPPED: The lights won’t be shining at Byron Bay this Christmas. Hundreds of people enjoyed the first Christmas tree lights in 2007.

Famous Christmas tree gets the axe

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 that 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 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.

Byron United still wants to keep that spirit alive.

“The community was absolutely delighted with the Christmas tree when it went up,” Ms Ricketts said. “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 Island 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 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.


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