CHAR­ITY KEEPS LIGHTS ON AT CANDY CANE LANE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - BRIANNA MORRISGRANT

THE lights will stay on at Candy Cane Lane af­ter a Gold Coast char­ity stepped in to save the pop­u­lar Gold Coast Christ­mas at­trac­tion.

For­est Oak Dr in Up­per Coomera at­tracts tens of thou­sands of sight­seers to its dis­play each year.

But as res­i­dents pre­pared for an­other fes­tive sea­son it was these num­bers that threat­ened to jeop­ar­dise the tra­di­tion.

The spec­ta­cle has grown so large the Gold Coast Coun­cil was forced to im­ple­ment a traf­fic man­age­ment plan last year.

But this year the coun­cil pulled fund­ing for road blocks and traf­fic of­fi­cers, stat­ing it was “un­fair” to other ar­eas.

The de­ci­sion had res­i­dents scram­bling for a so­lu­tion, so they ap­proached Brave­hearts, a char­ity the dis­play raises money for, for help.

Brave­hearts have com­mit­ted to help­ing Christ­mas-mad lo­cals grow the at­trac­tion. with fundrais­ing di­rec­tor Al­i­son Geale say­ing the char­ity will pro­vide traf­fic man­age­ment and port-a-loos this year.

“We know it can get tough if you don’t have some­one to help out,” she said.

Res­i­dent Rose Mam­mone said that with­out traf­fic man­age­ment the area would be “chaos”.

“Dur­ing De­cem­ber it can take a long time to get where you’re go­ing,” she said. “They raise so much money for char­ity, it’s so worth it but there’s so many peo­ple – it's mad­ness.

“Last year the coun­cil blocked off the street, al­low­ing lo­cals onlu passes, which made sure we could still get in and out.

“That needs to con­tinue.”

Area coun­cil­lor Donna Gates said it would be “un­fair” for the coun­cil to keep fund­ing traf­fic man­age­ment.

“There are Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions right across the city and it would be un­fair to con­tinue to use ratepayer funds on one spe­cific street,” she said.

“I do, how­ever, hope they con­tinue with the tra­di­tion.”

Dur­ing the first days of De­cem­ber some diehard Christ­mas lights fans took to so­cial me­dia to share their dis­ap­point­ment that the whole street was not in­volved this year.

But long-time lo­cals have guar­an­teed it’s just a slow start, vow­ing to share lights and in­stall them for those who can’t af­ford the money or the time to dec­o­rate.

Lisa Cor­co­ran, who set up her dec­o­ra­tions late last month, said vis­i­tors had noth­ing to worry about when it came to see­ing the mas­sive dis­plays.

“It’s all go­ing to kick off this week­end, and then next week we will have food ven­dors, stalls and Brave­hearts have a lot of vol­un­teers com­ing as well,” she said.

“There are some residets who are go­ing to be away this Christ­mas – we’ve been do­ing the big dis­plays for five years, and they are vis­it­ing fam­ily.

“Oth­ers have just moved in, some are fix­ing things but we will all help each other.”

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