A southeast Melbourne neighbourhood famous for its elaborate Christmas lights has been forced to pull the plug on this year’s display after a local council stepped in.
For the past few years, thousands of Victorians seeking some Christmas cheer have flocked to Hugo Court in Narre Warren desperate to catch a glimpse of the spectacular light display.
However, that surging popularity has now seen the popular light show scrapped after the Casey Council declared it an “event”, meaning the organisers would have to fork out thousands of dollars in insurance and management costs.
“I have some sad news. Due to the huge support we have had the last few years with thousands of people coming to check out our Christmas Court we now have got too big,” the event organisers posted on their Facebook page.
“Due to the number of visitors we are getting we are now classed as an event, and to run an event we must supply traffic management and public liability insurance which is in the 10’s of thousands of dollars, traffic management alone is $23K.
The display organisers later conceded that the event had “just got too big to handle”.
“Out of respect for our neighbours in the surrounding streets, they have to put up with not being able to get into their properties, noise, rubbish, people parking on their lawns even people urinating on their front lawns,” they wrote in a follow up post.“
“There will be no lights this year at all.”
Thousands of social media users slammed the decision, comparing the council’s decision to the plotline for a new Grinch movie.
“This is clearly bulls***… please fight this,” one man wrote.
“What a joke. The council spend millions on a new building with rate payer money but won’t fork out money to provide Christmas lights for the people of Casey,” another woman wrote.
Others suggested staging a public protest and starting a petition or GoFundMe page to raise the funds to keep the lights switched on.
Yahoo7 News has contacted Casey Council for comment.