A string of tinsel on a school crossing has been deemed a distraction to drivers and ordered to be taken down, much to the dismay of Christmas-loving locals and children.
Sebastopol, near Ballarat, is adorned with all manner of Christmas decorations and displays but it's the single strand of tinsel woven through the top of a wire fence that's been deemed dangerous.
For many years the tinsel has been in place throughout December but last week was the first time it had become an issue.
Neal Salan walks past the crossing most days. Last week he found the crossing supervisor in tears after being told to remove the tinsel.
"She had been told by a council officer that the tinsel she has put on the rails at the median strip for several years must be taken down," Mr Salan said.
"The reason given was a concern about the tinsel distracting drivers. The tinsel placed by another crossing supervisor at the crossing further up Albert Street also had to be removed."
Mr Salan said he felt the reason given for the removal of the tinsel was "nuts" and pointed out the council Christmas decorations in Sturt St and flashing LED signs and billboards such as those at nearby Phoenix P-12 Community College or near Dan Murphy's in the CBD were far more of a distraction than a string of tinsel on a fence.
"I hate this sort of heavy-handed bureaucracy. Safety is good, no doubt about that, but honestly, Christmas decorations?"
"Councils are obliged to follow guidelines to ensure the safety of children using school crossings as well as the safety of drivers and school crossing supervisors," council stated.
"While the intent is certainly in the festive spirit, anything out of the ordinary that has the potential to distract drivers around school crossings and compromise the safety of children, is not worth the risk, regardless of how well intended the gesture may be.
"However, Albert Street, Sebastopol is not without Christmas cheer, with lots of colorful tinsel, in all the usual places you would expect to find street decorations this time of the year. "