After being criticised last year for missing the mark with its decorations, the Borough of Queenscliffe has splurged on new festive flags, wreaths and Christmas trees to add colour to the twin towns.
And the Lighting of the Christmas tree – held last year without crowds - is also in for a shake up, with plans to flick the switch from a community celebration in the heart of the Point Lonsdale village.
Mayor Ross Ebbels said Council had been working with traders and schools to reinvigorate the annual event with additional activities and in a way that supported local business.
“Obviously the first question is can you see the Christmas tree from the main street and yes, you can, so the aim would be to have a big community celebration and the lights would be lit remotely from there,” he said.
Mayor Ross Ebbels said Council would use $200,000 ,allocated to it under the latest round of the Victorian Government’s COVIDSafe Outdoor Activation Fund, to reactivate outdoor dining and support entertainment in the heart of both towns.
“We haven’t decided what it will look like but we’ve got some more outdoor dining opportunities and activitations coming as well so that locals and visitors can enjoy the outdoors and what we love about the borough,” he said.
Business owners in both towns have been working up ideas behind the scenes to bring life back to both CBDs after two challenging years of lockdowns and restrictions.
Point Lonsdale’s wish list includes a twilight events program incorporating live music, al fresco dining and street picnics. There would be more seating, tables and umbrellas, street stalls, trees filled with fairy lights in the adjacent park and shop fronts would be lit up like Myer Christmas windows.
“Covid’s been a blow but we’ve seen all the shops here taken over by new and energised people and I think this plan is just building on that energy. There’s a fresh commitment to come together as traders,” said Trish Berry, owner of Noble Rot wine bar.
“This time last year there were four empty shops – one fifth of the shops – and then there’s been four new can do people come in and really really different shops. The offerings are so typical of here,” added Chris Dineen, who together with wife Sally Denehy owns specialty shop La Monique.