Cityprom chooses not to change Christmas tree in 2018

CONTEMPORARY TREE: These two designs were sent to members in the letter as examples of what a new tree could look like. Picture: Supplied
CONTEMPORARY TREE: These two designs were sent to members in the letter as examples of what a new tree could look like. Picture: Supplied

Plans to potentially change Launceston’s Christmas tree to a contemporary replacement have been shelved for 2018.

In a letter sent out to members three weeks ago, Cityprom chief executive Steve Henty suggested replacing Launceston’s 10-metre tree with a modern, leafless version this year.

He said the installation process of a contemporary tree would take a third of the time and cost a third of the price.

TRADITIONAL: Launceston's Christmas tree in 2017. Picture: Paul Scambler

TRADITIONAL: Launceston's Christmas tree in 2017. Picture: Paul Scambler

“Our current tree is nearing the end of its usable life, requiring either some extensive repair or replacement,” the letter read.

“We have an opportunity with the newly refurbished mall to make a change, and be quite cutting-edge with the design, whilst still maintaining elements of traditionalism.

“The estimated cost of refurbishing the existing tree will be about the same as commissioning a new one.”

However, the idea was scrapped for this year due to insufficient interest from Cityprom members – central business district businesses.

While there will be no change in 2018, Mr Henty would not rule it out for the near future, due to the expensive maintenance costs involved with the current tree.

“We were looking at contemporary trees, because people climbing the tree every year costs $5-10,000 in maintenance costs every year,” he said.

I’m not sure about you, but I think our green tree is something we are proud of and that our kids love.

City of Launceston alderman Danny Gibson

City of Launceston alderman Danny Gibson showed his support for the current tree on Friday morning, with a social media post titled “fight for the foliage”.

“I’m not sure about you, but I think our green tree is something we are proud of and that our kids love,” he said.

“Am I too conservative in my Christmas tree views or do we want to fight for the foliage?”

Hobart City Council copped fierce backlash for spending $35,000 on a contemporary Christmas tree in 2015.

The widely panned design was replaced in 2017 by a $141,000 tree that former Hobart lord mayor Sue Hickey bragged was taller than Launceston’s.

Mr Henty said a Launceston contemporary tree would not look like Hobart’s from 2015.