The City Hall Christmas tree is growing this year, but one Winnipeg city councillor is concerned about the growing cost that comes with it.
The artificial tree will stand at 50 feet this year, compared to 28 feet previously. It’s an extension of the same tree that was purchased in 2019.
This was a transition from the previous method of cutting down a real tree every year and putting it up.
But the extension comes with a price. The extension alone costs nearly $152,000.
Tack on new decorations also being purchased for more than $82,000 and a new tree stand being bought for more than $25,000 and the extension adds up to around $260,000, which has Transcona councillor Shawn Nason upset.
“There was no discussion, no debate. It was a decision made by the public service. And I’m a bit challenged by the escalating price tag of this,” Nason told 680 CJOB.
Mayor Brian Bowman says the Mayor’s Office is funding the project.
Add on the original purchase price of the tree, which was just over $40,000, and Bowman says around $300,000 has been spent on the tree since 2019
But the mayor says it should last 15 years and considers it a solid long-term investment.
“The annual cost is about $20,000, so it will actually be relatively cheaper, and it means 15 massive trees hopefully still living in our community,” Bowman said.
“This is something I hope adds a little bit of light and joy over many, many years.”
Just because our Christmas tree is artificial, doesn’t mean it can’t grow! A look behind the scenes at installing this year’s expanded tree: https://t.co/SUgGERqIrI pic.twitter.com/HLeMQalH8p
— City of Winnipeg (@cityofwinnipeg) November 3, 2021
The tree-lighting ceremony will take place Thursday, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m., according to Bowman. Only fully-vaccinated people will be able to attend.
It weighs more than 9,900 pounds and features more than 8,000 decorations.