Christmas tree may return

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 07:07 05/12/2013
Tim Lovejoy
Scott Hammond
Tree time: Tim Lovejoy from David James Tree Service supervising Cole Porter in the bucket and Parker Havens, who is working in the top of the tree, as they put up decorations in the 16-metre cypress tree in Seymour Square, Blenheim, yesterday
Light on: Hamilton's Garden Place looks magical with the Christmas tree lighting it up.
Chris Hillock/ Waikato Times
Light on: Hamilton's Garden Place looks magical with the Christmas tree lighting it up.
xmas tree
BRUCE MERCER
The Christmas tree in Garden Place.
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This may be the last Christmas that Blenheim will be without a Christmas tree in the town's shopping centre.

The Marlborough District Council has asked staff to prepare a proposal for a new Christmas tree for them to consider early next year, with the idea the tree could be purchased in time for the 2014 festive season, Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robert Hutchinson said.

One option would be a tree in a similar style to the 27-metre high Christmas tree in Hamilton, but smaller to be more appropriate for the space in Blenheim, he said.

"In the end it will come down to finances. I don't know what size will be agreed upon, but we would like a Christmas tree for Adams Place for the 2014 season," he said.

Marlborough Lines assembled wire tree structures, complete with decorations and lights in Market St, Blenheim, and on the Picton War Memorial for about 15 years. In 2010, it stopped doing this, saying the maintenance bill was too expensive.

In 2010, Marlborough Lines operations manager Brian Tapp was reported saying the tinsel, structure maintenance and replacing hundreds of lamps stolen off the Picton tree last year cost about $46,000.

The company had covered the costs of the trees until 2009, when the Marlborough District Council contributed $5000.

Several people wrote letters to the editor or commented on Facebook that they missed the presence of a Christmas tree in Blenheim's shopping street.

Mr Hutchinson said some councillors had also had similar feedback and that was why they had requested the proposal for a new tree be prepared.

In the meantime, Blenheim is not without festive decorations.

Some decorations have been put up around Blenheim and more will follow including the annual Christmas banner.

"We are also putting coloured lights around the arches across Market Street after they have been repainted.

"The clock tower in Market Place will also be wrapped in lights and the Christmas trees in Picton will be put up as well," Mr Hutchinson said.

The 16-metre cypress tree in Seymour Square was decorated yesterday and the tinsel and decorations have been put up across Maxwell Rd. The rest of the decorations should go up in the next week.

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Last year the cost of new Christmas trees in Picton caused controversy.

The Marlborough District Council bought the two trees from a company in China, paying almost $20,000 from its Christmas decoration budget last year to have the trees imported and set up on High St in Picton from mid-December until January 14.

- The Marlborough Express

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