THERE may be 38 days to go to Christmas but already THREE Christmas Trees have been put up by the Council in the Harryville area of Ballymena.
In the latest development the Council said the official Harryville Tree at Salisbury Square was damaged by storms.
A new Tree has now been put up.
There have been many ups and downs for the local council ahead of December 25 this year.
The official town Christmas Tree at The Braid Town Hall – along with the counterpart in Harryville – were originally put up in October – 63 days before Christmas.
However, the Trees came down again three days later after Mid & East Antrim Borough Council said they had gone up in “error”.
At the time the Council issued a statement on social media which said: ‘Two Christmas Trees were erected in Harryville and Ballymena today. This was an error on our part and they will be take down immediately.
‘These trees will not be in place in both locations until after Remembrance Sunday. We apologise for any offence caused within the community’.
In a message on social media, Ballymena DUP councillor John Carson had said at the time: “As Veterans Champion for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council l was as shocked as anyone to see Christmas trees erected in Ballymena today.
“This was never passed in Council and it would appear someone has made a massive error as it is a rule in Council that they do not go up until after Remembrance Sunday.
“Cllr. Gregg McKeen DUP group leader has spoken to senior officers in council and we have been assured that trees will be removed immediately,” the councillor said.
Bannside Traditional Unionist Voice councillor Timothy Gaston said at the time: “What an absolute shambles.
“Every year they’re put in place around this time of the year.
“The only decision that was taken was to make sure the lights and trees were not lit before Remembrance Sunday.”
Then after Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day Trees were back up on November 12 at the Town Hall and Harryville.
The Harryville Tree appeared to have its bottom branches removed at that stage and it had drawn some adverse comment from members of the public.
Now, the second tree in Harryville has been hauled down and replaced.
A Council spokesperson told ‘Ballymena Daily’ on Tuesday: “Unfortunately, stormy weather over the weekend caused considerable damage to the Christmas Tree at Harryville.
“Our staff assessed the Tree and it was deemed too dangerous and risky to just repair it.
“In order to ensure the safety of the public, with a number of weeks until Christmas, the Tree has been replaced.”
It is understood around £1,000 was spent on the operation to replace the Harryville Tree but the Council may be able to claim the money back through insurance.