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Christmas star could be shining again in Timaru, but at a cost

Reinstallation costs look likely to prevent Timaru’s Christmas star from shining from its usual 34-metre spot.

The $35,000 star has been placed on top of the town’s “Champagne Tree’’, since the 2003 Christmas season, at the rear of Robyn and Gary Borland’s Wai-iti Rd property.

The Christmas star in 2020.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

The Christmas star in 2020.

However, in April it was announced the star needed a new home, when former Timaru mayor Damon Odey advised the council that placing the star on the tree would become problematic as he intended to develop the former South Canterbury RSA land, next door to the Borlands, that is used as access for the crane.

Since then the Timaru District Council, which owns the star, has been looking for a new site for the Christmas decoration.

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Timaru District mayor Nigel Bowen said he called Odey after The Timaru Herald reported on Monday that there had been issues finding a new location for the star.

When asked last week why the star could not go on the tree in 2021, Odey had said “no-one got on the phone to ask me. I never heard from council’’.

A crane setup on the former South Canterbury RSA premises is used to take the Christmas star down in 2018. The RSA buildings have since been demolished and resource consent has been granted for an 11 section development.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

A crane setup on the former South Canterbury RSA premises is used to take the Christmas star down in 2018. The RSA buildings have since been demolished and resource consent has been granted for an 11 section development.

Bowen said Odey told him on Monday, he had ‘’no issue with us using and accessing the property over the Christmas period’’..

“There’s a number of things to look into, particularly logistically. But we’ve got to get our ducks in a row,” Bowen said.

However, he also said it would cost ‘’tens of thousands of dollars’’ to put the star back on top of the tree..

“But council are committed to finding a prudent long-term solution for the star, particularly after the cancellation of the Timaru and Temuka Christmas parades,” he said.

Timaru's Christmas star sits atop the "Champagne Tree" in 2018.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Timaru’s Christmas star sits atop the “Champagne Tree” in 2018.

“It would be nice to have some elements of Christmas.”

Timaru District Council spokesman Stephen Doran said when the star was taken down from the tree for the final time, earlier this year, the power supply was also decommissioned and removed.

“There would be significant cost involved in recommissioning the power supply for a single year, so we are currently working on a new temporary venue for the star while we confirm a permanent new site. This will be announced as soon as the details are confirmed,” Doran said.

Odey could not be reached for comment.



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