Gympie's $65k Christmas tree continues to spark debate.
Gympie's $65k Christmas tree continues to spark debate.

OPINION: ‘No apology needed for canning Xmas tree decorations’

Letter to the editor by Merv Welch:

I WAS somewhat bemused by the reports last week, in both The Gympie Times and Gympie Today, of the CEO’s apology for calling a halt (or perhaps merely a hiatus) to the ridiculously extravagant expense of decorating the Christmas tree.

Mr Gray might be unaware of the community consternation at the revelation that the previous council had spent $65 000 on a Christmas tree.

Gympie Regional Council workers during the plating of the tree at Nelson Reserve last year.
Gympie Regional Council workers during the plating of the tree at Nelson Reserve last year.

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And that, in the context of a perceived neglect of basic services such as road maintenance.

The Christmas tree, I suggest, was one of the last nails in the coffin of a council that appeared to have a “no tomorrow” attitude to spending on what many ratepayers considered unnecessary and, in some cases, unaffordable icons.

The winning design for the tree requires a metal frame be built to support the lights. The cost will be about $30,000.
The winning design for the tree requires a metal frame be built to support the lights. The cost will be about $30,000.

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The public perception of that attitude was a major factor in the March election which saw the majority of councillors dismissed.

Far from having to apologise for putting a tourniquet on the financial haemorrhage (didn’t the newly elected Council have to borrow significantly to continue operating?) the CEO, Mr Shane Gray, is to be heartily congratulated.

Merv Welch,

The Palms