‘Watt’ should be norm for Summer Street decorative lights

Orange’s Summer Street is described as “magical”, “spectacular” and “stunning” on social media, with the array of overhead festoon lights and fairy lights on almost every tree.

Traditionally decorative lights appear in November and December to mark the start of the Christmas period.

They signify the start of the warm weather, outdoor dining, catching up over Christmas and the holidays.

They instil a sense of excitement because they are seasonal.

The overhead festoon lights, and fairy lights in the trees from Sale Street to Peisley Street are unquestionably bright and beautiful, but is it best to turn them on occasionally so they keep that element of special about them?

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said Council would ask the community its opinions about how often the lights should be turned on.

“The lights are absolutely fantastic and the response has been overwhelmingly positive from the community,” Cr Kidd said.

“I’ve heard stories of parents taking their kids on drives down the main street at night just to show them the magic of Summer Street.

“The festoon replacements and extensions were completed last year and the fairy lights in the trees were turned on in April so it is all still a novelty. We’re not used to seeing such wonder as we head into the CBD at night.

“What Council is asking the community for is its opinion on whether having the lights on all the time will mean they lose a bit of their specialness.

“I liken it to having the Christmas tree up all year around, would that mean that it becomes merely a decoration in the background and loses its importance?

“Or the alternative view is that we leave the lights on all of the time and every visitor who comes to the city will see the beautiful main street in all its glory, no matter the time of year.

“I am over the moon with the response so far to such a simple, cost effective, jazzing up of our CBD area.”

Orange’s main street has had festoon lights for many years and they were coloured. Last year the festoons were removed and replaced with LED white lights, saving Council over $3,000 per year in electricity.

The change from coloured lights to white lights was made because coloured LED lights, which could stand the Orange climate could not be sourced.

However, it is an inevitability that bulbs will break over time and the less often they are turned on, the less often they will need replacing. Replacing the bulbs comes at a cost as the work must be done at night with a partial road closure.

Separately to the fairy lights in the trees and the festoon lights overhead, Council recently installed $1.5 million worth of “Whiteway” LED pole lights in the CBD. These lights will remain on in the evenings and are not part of the discussion regarding how often the lights should be turned on.

Anyone who would like to have their say about the frequency of the lights in Summer Street should head to Orange City Council’s YourSay Orange page.

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