Seven Melbourne councils have been slammed as “grinches” for scrapping Christmas events despite the easing of COVID restrictions.
While a ratepayers’ group say carols events should go ahead as restrictions ease across the state, some mayors are insisting it is too late notice.
The councils that have cancelled carols are Bayside, Stonnington, Monash, Knox, Kingston, Moonee Valley and Frankston.
Verity Webb from Ratepayers Victoria called the move “pathetic.”
“It just goes to show how incompetent and unimaginative our councils are,” she said.
“We’ve all managed. We’ve all adapted. We’ve all coped … and they can’t do this one simple thing?”
Frankston Mayor Kris Bolam told 7NEWS the decision to cancel the area’s Festival of Lights was due to the pandemic and lack of planning time.
“For our offices to organise an event of this scale takes at least 12 months and given the scale of the planning time needed between now and Christmas, logistically it’s not doable,” he said.
In a statement, a media spokesperson for Bayside City Council said the lack of notice with restrictions also made organising its carols too difficult.
They will instead be installing festive decorations including lighting up the Black Rock clock tower and will have live entertainment at shopping centres and a roving Santa.
Similarly, City of Monash Mayor Brian Little said even a scaled-back version was not possible.
“Given the long preparation time required for an event of the size and scale of Carols by Candlelight in Jells Park, even a scaled back version, it is not possible for us to hold an in-person event this year,” Little said in a statement.
“The changes made by the state government are welcomed but have only just been released. We are delighted that these recent announcements provide clarity around plans for our summer series of events and allow us to undertake some further planning towards Australia Day events, Clayton Festival in February and Live at Warrawee in March.”
Instead of its Carols, Knox City Council will have broadcast a virtual concert filmed at the Knox Community Arts Centre online.
Each year, a boulevard in Ivanhoe East attracts thousands of people to see the Christmas lights, but Banyule council is not supporting it this year.
Residents said they will go ahead anyway.