Victoria’s Centennial Square will be decorated with elaborate lights this holiday season. (Black Press Media File)

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says online rumours of banning holiday lights are false

‘Largest ever’ lights display planned for Centennial Square in Victoria this winter

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is pushing back against an onslaught of hate mail she’s received in regards to holiday lights in downtown Victoria this year with a promise of a fantastic light display this winter.

Online rumours said that Helps was advocating for a total ban on Christmas or holiday lights this winter, resulting in a flurry of hate mail and social media attacks on the mayor.

“This post is a total and absolute lie,” Helps tweeted on Monday. “It’s generating hateful emails from across the country to which I feel a need to respond.”

ALSO READ: City of Victoria considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

Helps told Black Press that she’s received hundreds of hateful messages that she feels have no foundation.

“What’s most concerning has nothing to do with Christmas, and everything to do with social media,” she said. “What frustrates me is people targeting the reputation of the city when our business owners are doing the best to create the best light display ever.”

In contrast to the online comments, Helps said the city is actually supporting efforts by the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) to produce the largest lights display the city has ever seen in Centennial Square this year.

“We’re a tech city, so there’s going to be some technical elements, and we’re also the capital city with a thriving downtown core, so those aspects will be incorporated.”

DVBA president Jeff Bray confirmed that an elaborate light display is being planned, but that more information couldn’t be released.

“We are definitely doing a larger light activation in Centennial Square, but still working out some major details,” Bray said. Funding for the display will be from the DVBA and not from the city budget.

In December, City Coun. Ben Isitt put forward an idea to scrap Christmas decorations altogether in an effort to separate church and state.

“Tax dollars should not go to religious symbols,” Isitt said in a December committee of the whole meeting. “Decorations costs should not be expended on any particular part of Christmas practice.”

READ MORE: Festive trucks sidelined by Courtenay police

The comments received harsh push back from people across the country and the matter never carried forward.

When asked if plans for a more elaborate light display was to counter Isitt’s idea, Helps was adamant that they were not.

“One councillor had an idea and he said it out loud,” she said. “What this is is leadership from the DVBA.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Vancouver Island man guilty of California murder cold case

Jury rules Shawnigan Lake’s Anthony Kubica killed wealthy Palm Springs senior in 1990

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

RCMP confirm file is now a homicide investigation

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Talks between Western Forest Products and union break down

No more negotiations imminent between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and company

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Uncertainty continues to surround body found in Central Saanich

BC Coroners Service say the man in his 20s is from Victoria. His death remains under investigation

One person hurt in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Parksville rejects Handmade for Hope proposal at supportive housing complex

Proposal would have seen residents of Orca Place learn how to make, market and sell craft items

Three cops investigated in connection to ex-Vancouver detective’s sexual misconduct

Fisher was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to kissing two young women who were witnesses in a criminal case

Muppet-topped motorcyclists hit the road for sick kids

Helmet Heads Canada collecting donations during Victoria Christmas parades

Violence response procedures updated for B.C. schools, police

ERASE program expands to target gangs, bullying of students

A pawsitive ending: Missing puppy found after nine-day search in Chilliwack

Pit bull Frankie ran from dog sitter booked through app

Most Read