What will Christmas cheer look like for Wingecarribee this year? Community feedback in combination with rising costs have prompted Wingecarribee Shire Council to consider a new program of widespread Christmas Activations across our townships and villages in 2023. On the agenda for the September 20 Ordinary Meeting of Council is a report recommending Shire-wide, community-focused festivities in lieu of costly Christmas trees in our town centres.
Consistent with rising costs across many sectors, the quote to hire and install Christmas trees to our three town centres has increased significantly in 2023.
Taking into account concerns expressed by community members in 2022 with respect to the high cost of Christmas Trees, and that Council resolved to increase funding for the Festival of Lights from $15,000 to $25,000, Council has considered alternative options for bringing Christmas cheer to our Shire in 2023.
“The Christmas Activations program puts forward a new standard of Christmas experiences for the Wingecarribee community, aligned with our unique identity, heritage and community values,” says WSC Administrator Mr Viv May.
“Proposed is a coordinated season of activities and attractions across our Shire, creating a festive atmosphere that can be widely enjoyed.”
The total invested in Christmas celebrations in 2022 was $103,500. This included $100,000 to hire and install three trees, to Moss Vale, Bowral and Mittagong, with older Council owned trees installed in Robertson, Bundanoon and Berrima. Other costs included Christmas flags, security, civic centre decorations, light-up events and school student vouchers, sound equipment for Connect Church Moss Vale Community Christmas Carols and funding for village association celebrations.
In 2023, it is proposed that the $100,000 allocated for Christmas in the 2023/24 Operational Budget be invested in a full program of festivities developed in partnership with our community, including:
- The additional contribution to grow the Festival of Lights
- Solar fairy lights and up-lighting to Leighton Gardens, Winifred West Park and the main street of Bowral
- Yarn bombing on trees in partnership with CWA’s, schools and community groups
- Christmas flags in main town centres
- Partnering with village associations on place-based activations that bring people together, through Smartygrants
- Community Make and Create Sustainable Workshops across Wingecarribee
- Pop-up Carols in partnership with local choirs
- Outdoor Christmas Movies
- A Giving Tree to bring hope to community members in need
- A free family Elf on the Shelf Trail
- 12 days of Sustainable Christmas promoted through our e-news and socials
Come along to our Council Meeting next week to hear the report presented in detail.
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