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Ambleside residents mourn loss of Christmas lights
Ambleside was missing a festive touch this Christmas.
To the dismay of some residents, the lights that usually decorated a large coniferous tree on the corner of 13th Street and Marine Drive weren't put up this year.
But it's not the expense that kept the decorations down.
The lights, which are enjoyed by many West Van residents as they drive along the main road, are still in working order.
It's the tree itself that is the problem.
"It's become too big for the decorations they used to use," said Jeff MacDonald, spokesman for the District of West Vancouver.
Every fall for years West Van firefighters could be spotted climbing ladders to string the Christmas lights from the towering tree's branches.
Donna Steveson is one Ambleside resident who would like the revival of the Christmas tree, which is located within walking distance from her home. She has enjoyed the lights each December for decades.
"Who/what/when/where and why did it happen this year not to be decorated?" she asked in a letter to council.
Scenery Slater, another Ambleside resident, would also like the tradition to continue.
"If a 'gateway' to Ambleside was of real importance [the lights] would never have gone missing," she regretfully told council.
An opponent of the height of a recently approved development for the 1300-block of Marine Drive, Slater says this Christmas tree is more important than ever.
It would add a bit of cheer to an area that will be under construction as two mixed commercial-residential buildings go up.
These Ambleside residents, however, shouldn't give up hope.
Depending on the municipality's resources, the tree could be lit up again as early as next year.
"It's possible that it could be done in the future, but probably the responsibility for that will shift to our arts and culture people," said MacDonald, adding the tree will need to be spruced up first.
"We understand that people might have been disappointed not to see it decorated this year, but there are lots of other beautiful decorations around the district."