The worst Christmas display ever: Outrage after council ‘spends thousands’ on ‘pathetic’ tree lights in popular beach holiday spot

A community’s festive spirit has been crushed after its council created ‘the worst Christmas display ever’.

The people of Forster, on the NSW mid North coast, would have been excited to see the town’s biggest tree being decorated for Christmas in late November.

The work took a council crew three days, and a boom lift, to complete – but when the lights were finally switched on, locals were left unimpressed.

Adam Fitzroy from MidCoast Aerial Photography was so infuriated he posted pictures of the tree on Facebook.

‘This is absolutely pathetic, what an embarrassing effort – not that I expect anything less from our council, but this needs to stop,’ he fumed.

The ‘Christmas’ decorations consist of one large tree with string lights. Locals claim it took three days to decorate

Mr Fitzroy wrote he and the other business owners put a lot of effort into tourism – but are embarrassed by the Christmas cheer on display.

‘There’s nothing that screams neglect and lack of interest more than an unthoughtful, rushed, ugly, non-Christmassy, rope light installation on arguably one of THE MOST noticeable tree’s in the entire Forster-Tuncurry,’ he wrote.

Daily Mail Australia contacted the MidCoast Council about the tree – and they published a press release online shortly after.

The council said their staff were not ‘professional tree decorators’ and, following the complaints, would not make any more attempts at Christmas light displays.

‘Providing Christmas lighting is not a core service of Council, or something we have expert skills in, hence the decision to allow the community the opportunity to take ownership of the lighting going forward,’ the release read.

‘The cost of the lights, installation and removal on the Forster site are approximately $8,000 with Christmas lights across the region costing the Council $25,000. The majority of the costs associated with installing and removing the lights is from crane hire,’ they added. 

A Councillor did comment on the post though – calling for an end to the council-bashing and noting the team did its best.

‘We live here too, we remember how good it used to look with at least three trees lit up,’ he said.

‘Sadly the body that used to do the Christmas lights no longer do the job and have no interest in it,’ he said.

He said this left the council scrambling to suddenly do a job that was ‘never council’s to do’.

In its statement, the council revealed it had supported the installation of timber trees and tree wraps in Wharf Street, Forster.

‘Disappointingly some have already been stolen,’ they added.

The council revealed it would donate the lights to any community group that would accept the job of decorating.

It claimed to have made the decision to give up the job back in May – not following this week’s outrage.

The tree is pictured in 2021 - the community said at least 'effort' used to be put into making it look like a Christmas display

The tree is pictured in 2021 – the community said at least ‘effort’ used to be put into making it look like a Christmas display 

‘When it doesn’t match up to the standards we all expect and got used to we get bashed for it,’ he added.

But the Councillor’s cries appeared to fall on deaf ears with most people choosing to slam the ‘Mr Squiggle’ effort.

‘How embarrassing for the town. The school kids would love to make huge decorations and have their work proudly displayed on the tree,’ one person said.

‘Council don’t give a rats butt but the community does…. sorry to all the little children who love seeing lights at Christmas, coz it’s not going to happen while council are involved.’

In his post Mr Fitzroy said this isn’t the first year the tree has been a disappointment – and claimed the council hasn’t listened to feedback.

‘If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was for Halloween with that scary effort,’ he said.

He also took a guess at the cost of the display.

‘$185 per hour to hire a boom lift, $1000 in rope light, $100 in hula hoops and $10 in cable ties. 

‘And please don’t say it’s $10,000 in wages, because we’re not paying for 10 blokes to stand around doing nothing while 2 people in a boom lift and a safety officer down below can operate the whole thing,’ he added.

And people kept piling on the criticism.

‘Very poor effort for a holiday place – council should be ashamed,’ one person said.

‘What a lovely sight to come home to,’ joked another.

The community have started a Facebook Group – to work together to create a good display next year.