Wagga mayor asks businesses to decorate Baylis Street shops, but council jeered for lack of festive spirit

CHEERS: Jess Barrass and Kelly Nicholls from Radio Rentals celebrate completing the Christmas window display of the Baylis Street store.
CHEERS: Jess Barrass and Kelly Nicholls from Radio Rentals celebrate completing the Christmas window display of the Baylis Street store.

Businesses are doing their best to bring Christmas cheer to Baylis Street as the community demands more action from council.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents to a Daily Advertiser poll said council had not done enough to decorate the main street.

Aussie Disposals owner David Harmer said he agreed with the masses.

“We went crook at them (council) last year and nothing’s improved,” Mr Harmer said. “Given the size of Wagga, surely they could do better. We’ve got a store in Bathurst too and the difference between their main street and ours is like chalk and cheese.”

"Wagga Christmas"

"Wagga Christmas"

Pink flags bearing the words “Wagga Christmas” hang from flagpoles at each of the pedestrian crossings along Baylis Street, with footpath decals scattered about nearby. Every night, a Christmas projection illuminates the side of the civic centre, while a $20,000 light display hangs from a tree in Victory Memorial Gardens.

A letter from Wagga mayor Greg Conkey, sent to businesses on Baylis Street, encouraged stores to decorate their windows in a Christmas theme. However, Mr Harmer said council could have done a better job with a little more planning.

“They need to try a bit harder, run lights on those flag poles or put tinsel in the trees on each block, surely we can do better than a few flags,” Mr Harmer said. “Even the big ‘welcome to Wagga’ signs could have had a bit of decoration, that’d be the perfect place to say ‘Merry Christmas’. I think if some community group wanted to do something about it (Baylis Street) they should be allowed to.”

When asked whether community groups or individuals should be allowed to decorate Baylis Street themselves, Councillor Conkey said they would need to seek permission from council staff first.

“There would be protocols to follow but I’m sure the staff would want to hear from them, if anyone has suggestions and would like to assist I’m sure we’d welcome them,” Cr Conkey said. “But I don’t think a bit of tinsel on some light poles is the way to go. I think the days of bunting across the main street have passed but we have encouraged businesses to put in window displays for the festive season.”

Radio rentals manager Kelly Nicholls said people were constantly stopping to look at their Christmas window display.

“Christmas only comes once a year and it takes minimum effort to put up decorations. Ours were way under $100 and we can put them up again next year.”

Kelsey Leaver from Sportsmans Warehouse hangs baubles on the tree.

Kelsey Leaver from Sportsmans Warehouse hangs baubles on the tree.

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