The proposed new location of Wondai’s Christmas Tree when it’s moved from the Bunya Highway roundabout to nearby Coronation Park is shown by the yellow star (behind the Dingo statue) (Graphic: SBRC)
Cr Scott Henschen

June 16, 2022

The curtain may finally fall on the long-running saga of Wondai’s Christmas tree after suggestions about its future location provoked three petitions and led to 12 community consultation sessions during the past year.

At Wednesday’s Community Standing Committee meeting, South Burnett councillors heard that while the Department Of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) issued an approval for the Christmas tree to be mounted on Wondai’s Bunya Highway roundabout each year, DTMR “would welcome any action undertaken by Council that would improve road safety for the local community and the travelling public”.

In light of this advice – along with the results of two community consultation meetings held in April which showed roughly 80 per cent of residents were now in favour of moving the tree to nearby Coronation Park – councillors accepted a recommendation by officers to shift the tree.

The new location, which was suggested by Wondai residents, will be across the road next to the Wondai Regional Art Gallery.

This new site will remove any concerns children might rush across the busy highway to embrace the tree but also address the concerns of other residents who believed shifting the tree to Coronation Park would make it less visible to passing motorists.

The shift will allow Council to pursue its plan to upgrade the roundabout at some time during the next few years to make it easier for large trucks to navigate without causing pavement damage.

The new location will also make it safer for Council employees to erect and disassemble the tree each year, reducing Council’s costs and risks to workers.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Cr Kirstie Schumacher praised Cr Scott Henschen for the work he had put in to get the Wondai residents involved in the process.

“I just want to acknowledge the significant effort Cr Henschen went to, to engage the community,” she said.

“I think he went above and beyond to try to connect.”

Cr Henschen said he wanted to stress the tree’s new location was chosen by the community and the tree’s visibility on the town’s approaches would be much the same.

“I really hope the Wondai people take this on board as a win,” Cr Henschen said.

“They’re not losing the Christmas tree … it’s moving virtually the width of the street.”

The motion to shift the Christmas tree was moved by Cr Henschen, seconded by Cr Kathy Duff and carried unanimously.

The decision is expected to be ratified at the SBRC’s General Meeting on June 24.

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An aerial view of the new Christmas Tree site between the art gallery and fountain … the new location will be safer for families, and cheaper and safer for Council staff to assemble and disassemble (Graphic: SBRC)

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

 

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