Claremont rejects ‘Happy Holidays’ for ‘Merry Christmas’ with decoration funding boost

Stock image.
Stock image.

CLAREMONT will have an Australian celebration this Christmas with a nativity scene, new fairy lights, bagpipers and a lighted gum tree – after complaints the Christmas message was lost to American influences last year.

Councillors agreed to an extra $80,000 for decorations at last night’s council meeting.

“We’ve got one of the best shopping districts in Perth and we should be proud of it by putting back that Christmas message up there,” Cr Chris Mews said at the meeting.

In 2017, Cr Mews cited Christmas greetings becoming generic messages abroad, particularly in the United States.

The council subsequently established a task group to revamp Christmas celebrations, and Cr Alastair Tulloch donated a one-off 15m pine tree from his farm.

The group recommended themes communicating peace, the Star of Jerusalem, the nativity and ‘Merry Christmas’.

A decorated gum replacing the pine tree, fairy lights in Bayview Terrace and St Quentin Avenue, and bagpipers from local schools were also recommended.

“(I took issue with) what is currently happening to promote ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Happy Christmas’,” Cr Jill Goetze said.

Swanbourne shops will get new decorative garlands and baubles, but shopping lanes in Claremont will be decorated with old fixtures.

13 new banners and 10 nativity scene stencils would be used in the town centre, and the gumtree on Stirling Highway would be lit.

However, the new decorations and work for the all-year lights’ installation would cost an extra $80,000, on top of the $64,000 budgeted in 2018-19.

A staff report suggested reallocating $80,000 from $190,00 for a playground at the southern end of Claremont Park.

“I have no objection as $30,000 of the $80,000 is for levelling of the land for a playground,” Mayor Jock Barkers said.

All councillors accept Cr Bruce Haynes agreed to the proposals, with Christmas only 13 weeks away.