The Commissioners have been made aware of recent social media comment regarding the annual Christmas “Switch on”.
The Chairman Mr Parnell has made the following statement to clarify the position.
“Whilst hugely popular, the regeneration of Market Square did not incorporate load bearing infrastructure suitable for substantial decorative lighting that is being sought in the social media post. I should also clarify that the Town has not, as yet taken ownership of lighting within the Market Square that was installed during the regeneration work, however it remains our intention to do so once DOI contractors have addressed outstanding faults.
The Town has historically had the support of commercial property owners in affixing supporting wires and power supplies to their buildings, however this has also been much reduced in recent years with infrastructure being lost along Bank St and Malew Street. The Town no longer has a lease of the Speakers Garden or any electrical infrastructure within the speaker’s garden itself.
The festive lighting we do have, is dated and unreliable. Given budgetary constraints, and the need to invest in the wider lighting infrastructure around the town, successive Boards have taken conscious decisions to invest in lighting schemes for the whole town that offer year round benefits, and remove the reliance for infrastructure on third party properties as opposed to temporary decorative lighting for the short festive window.
Turning to the Christmas event itself, feedback around the Island has been hugely supportive of the recent SuperManx Weekend. This success created a lot of positivity around us finding forward-looking ways to celebrate old traditions.
There will be a Christmas event in Castletown this year which will build on this successful format and it is hoped that the Christmas event will be supported in a similar spirit.
There will be a countdown, but not for the switching-on of dated, unreliable, decorative lighting.
More details of the planned event will follow in due course.
I wish to make it clear that should future boards resolve that significant investment in festive lighting and associated infrastructure is a priority for the ratepayers of Castletown to fund, then the opportunity to renew investment in the same will be available to them in future years. “