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: Downtown Victoria Business Association believes in the value of Christmas lights

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: City of Victoria considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

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

UVic student killed in bus crash remembered as passionate, kind

Emma Machado, 18, killed in bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

U.S. student killed in Bamfield bus crash remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

MLA Andrew Weaver thins workload after illness, full recovery expected

BC Green Party leader felt symptoms at a public event in Langley, and was taken to hospital

UPDATE: One man dies in Saanich collision

Police are asking people to avoid the intersection at Cumberland and Union roads

Oak Bay approves subdivision for lot that houses Maclure-designed heritage home

Mansion-style Blair Gowie house famous for its design and historical connection with Butchart family

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read