By NADINE FISHER
SCROOGE is killing the spirit of Christmas in Tweed Heads!
Tweed Heads CBD will be devoid of Christmas decorations unless a benefactor can help out with a sizeable cheque, there will be no carols by candlelight at Jack Evans Boat Harbour and even the annual Christmas lights competition was under threat of being blacked out.
Tweed mayor Warren Polglase said the council had never supplied decorations in the past, however they were happy to put them up at no cost if they were supplied.
"We have had a couple of requests in the past for decorations, but if you supply one then everyone will want them," he said.
"It's disappointing that Tweed Heads will not be decorated, but small businesses can't afford it - the spirit of Christmas doesn't exist if there is no return."
Cr Polglase said the Tweed Shire differed from the Gold Coast in that there were no divisional budgets.
"Gold Coast councillors buy decorations out of their divisional budgets and you'll see some areas decorated and some not much, but in Tweed it's a blanket (budget) that has to cover the entire area," he said.
Tweed Shire councillor and Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president John Murray said the chamber could not afford to buy decorations.
"I will speak to the rest of the Tweed chamber and see if we can come up with any funding, but Christmas decorations are not cheap, and it's sad, but that's the way it is," Cr Murray said.
"Unless we get a major benefactor there's never going to be a lot of decorations."
Murwillumbah and District Chamber of Commerce president Paul Waters said the Murwillumbah chamber had purchased decorations many years ago.
"They are a bit worn out but council does help to put them up each year," Mr Waters said.
The Jack Evans Boat Harbour Lifeworx Christmas Spectacular carols, which have been held for the past six years, are gone due to the lack of a major financial sponsor. But Lifeworx Christian Church representatives said they hoped to have enough support to stage the carols next year.
Lifeworx Pastor Paul Morrill said they had been pleased with the support from local businesses and community groups as well as council.
"It is unfortunate that the increase in the size of the carols demands an increase in sponsorship," Pastor Morrill said.
"It would this year cost around $40,000 and the church contributes whatever shortfall there is - usually providing 25 per cent," he said.
Lifeworx Christian Church events co-ordinator Jenny Maroney said they felt that money contributed by the church could be better spent on Christmas Outreach Programs this year.
"We wanted to ensure families are prioritised because there is a greater need in the community than ever before," Ms Maroney said.
"Our hampers and the Christmas Day lunch at the Tweed Civic Centre are some of the other activities we're involved in," she said.
Ms Maroney said the lack of the Christmas Spectacular would leave a sad hole around Christmas.
And the one of the most popular Yuletide events, the Tweed Christmas Lights Competition was facing a bleak festive season until last-minute negotiations between the Daily News and Tweed City Shopping Centre have saved the event.
Details of this year's restructured Christmas lights competition will be published in this Saturday's Daily News but the main thing is, according to circulation and promotions manager Kartina Demiris, there will be an opportunity for everyone to be in the competition regardless of how fancy the light displays are.
The Daily News wants readers to tell us about all the district's decorated houses so we can publish locations.
Community Carols by Candlelight will be held in Murwillumbah on December 12 from 6.30pm (DST) at Tweed Valley College. There will be Christmas Carols by the pool at Club Banora on December 18 from 6pm (DST).