City lack­ing fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

With 25 days be­fore the jolly old white-whiskered gent in the red suit pops down city chim­neys, has Palmer­ston North put out a fes­tive enough wel­come mat?

Fol­low­ing the ar­ti­cle on the Square Edge shop dec­o­rat­ing com­pe­ti­tion, the re­sults of The Tri­bune‘ s on­line poll, which asked if peo­ple thought the city was fes­tive enough, sug­gest that the city is un­der­done.

Only 12 per cent of those who took part thought the city was fes­tive enough, leav­ing 88 per cent agree­ing the city needed a Christ­mas makeover.

When peo­ple on the streets were asked if they thought there were enough fes­tive em­bel­lish­ments, a com­mon re­ac­tion was ‘‘what Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions?’’.

Te Rina War­ren said while she didn’t agree with over­com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the sea­son, the city could do with a lit­tle more titi­vat­ing.

‘‘I love Christ­mas ... any­thing that of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for cel­e­bra­tion should be en­cour­aged. I thought we had some snazzy lights in The Square. I like any­thing that fosters a sense of com­mu­nity and to­geth­er­ness.’’

Felix Carr ex­pressed his am­biva­lence.

‘‘I can’t see any Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions. I’m not par­tic­u­larly both­ered per­son­ally, but, yes we could do bet­ter ... Do we want to do bet­ter? I am quite in­dif­fer­ent.’’

An­other who didn’t care ei­ther way was Deb­o­rah Ram­say.

‘‘I don’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas, so it doesn’t mat­ter to me - but nei­ther am I of­fended by other peo­ple’s fes­tiv­i­ties. I don’t have an opin­ion. It’s not part of what I do.’’

How­ever, Si­mon Kikhounga wanted to see more ef­fort put into city dec­o­ra­tions.

‘‘Com­pared to some places, we are def­i­nitely un­der­done. I’ve seen places where Christ­mas blows you away with the lights. In the Congo, Christ­mas is mas­sive.’’

Julie Barnes echoed those sen­ti­ments.

‘‘When you look at pic­tures of Lon­don, Welling­ton or Auck­land, we look cur­mud­geonly. It’s just not fes­tive.’’

Those who want to see a more fes­tive flavour would need to make a sub­mis­sion to next year’s An­nual Plan in May so that Christ­mas lights and dec­o­ra­tions can be in­cluded in city coun­cil think­ing.

The coun­cil’s ap­proach to Christ­mas has been to fo­cus on events for peo­ple to en­joy, rather than on sparkle and span­gle.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Carol Leckie at Square Edge sup­ports mak­ing Palmer­ston North look more sea­son­ally fes­tive.

(Clock­wise from top left) Te Rina War­ren, Deb­o­rah Ram­say, Si­mon Kikhounga Julie Barnes and Felix Carr.

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