A real Christmas tree or a full-size LED festive tree - which would you prefer to see around the Borough this Christmas?
That was the dilemma facing members of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Environmental Services Committee last Tuesday as councillors were asked to turn their thoughts to festive lighting in the area.
Council officer Gareth Doyle told the members: “The four legacy Councils traditionally erected festive lighting at various centres of population throughout their borough/district. There were differences in style, type, layout and quantity. There have also been different approaches to repair, maintenance and renewal which has led to the current situation where there is noticeable variation across the borough in the quality of the presentations.”
He then outlined proposals to provide an LED Christmas tree costing £12,000 each in Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Ballycastle.
Mr Doyle said the LED trees were more durable than real trees and would be capable of withstanding the weather conditions in the major towns which in the past had seen trees been blown down and split down the middle.
Plans also included budgets of £55,000 to improve Ballycastle’s festive look, £15,000 for Ballymoney, £15,000 for Bushmills, £22,000 for Coleraine, £1,000 for Garvagh, £12,000 for Lmavady, £5,000 for Portrush and £14,000 for Portstewart.
Ballymoney Cllr Alan McLean said that a straw poll of people in Ballymoney revealed that they would prefer a real Chrfistmas tree rather than an LED one.
He added that if a real tree cost around £1,000 then to make it finanically viable, the LED tree costing £12,000 would need to last for 12 years.
Mr Doyle said that the manufacturers say the LED trees last 12 - 15 years.
Limavady councillor Brenda Chivers said that it was difficult to tell from pictures what the LED tree would really look like but added that she preferred a real tree. Coleraine councillor Russell Watton said that Couuncil would be criticised for spending £48,000 on four Christmas trees and said the trees weren’t the problem at the moment, the locations were.
UUP councillor Richard Holmes proposed that Council ccarry on with the plans outlined except the LED trees, put that money in reserve and wait for officers to bring back a report on the suitability of LED trees. This was agreed.