Christ­mas light hopes fade

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

A $76,000 bill for fes­tive lighting could leave One­hunga Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions in the dark.

An ur­gent de­ci­sion to buy new out­door cel­e­bra­tion lights was con­sid­ered at a meet­ing of the Maun­gakiekie Com­mu­nity Board last week.

Mem­bers were di­vided over whether to spend more than $76,000 on LED ca­ble lights and a 1.5-me­tre stain­less steel star.

In­stal­la­tion, weather-proof power sup­ply and ca­bling are not in­cluded in the quote, and could add thou­sands more.

Sup­pli­ers were to pro­vide firm costs within two to three weeks.

But a de­ci­sion needs to be made this month in or­der to light up One­hunga’s Jel­li­coe Park in time for Christ­mas.

Board mem­ber Si­mon Ran­dall and coun­cil­lor Richard Northey ar­gued the cost was too high.

“I just don’t think it’s worth it to spend $100,000 on lighting,” Mr Northey said.

But chair­woman Brid­get Gra­ham em­pha­sised the lights would be use­ful be­yond Christ­mas.

“They could be used for quite a few oc­ca­sions dur­ing the year. They could also be loaned out to other com­mu­nity boards.”

A large nor­folk pine in Jel­li­coe Park is tra­di­tion­ally dec­o­rated with fes­tive lighting at Christ­mas, with the “switch-on” marked by a cel­e­bra­tion evening.

An Auck­land City Coun­cil spokes­woman said board mem­bers felt the lights were not as suc­cess­ful as hoped.

The com­bi­na­tion of fairy lights, fes­toon lights and spot­lights could still be used to light other fea­tures in the park.

The board voted in favour of con­sid­er­ing a more detailed re­port on costs be­fore mak­ing an ur­gent de­ci­sion dur­ing the month.

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