Twist in bitter neighbourhood war over Brisbane man’s elaborate Christmas lights display in Coopers Plains – as simple mistake that sparked the clash is revealed
A bitter row between neighbors over an elaborate Christmas lights display has come to an end after the council decided the show should go ahead.
Jamie Lehmann’s Christmas lights are famous in Brisbane, with residents from across the city flocking to Coopers Plains, 14km south of the CBD, to see his annual display.
However, the impressive light show was jeopardized last week when a neighbor reported Mr Lehmann for blocking the council footpath in front of his home.
But in a follow-up video on Tuesday, Mr Lehmann revealed he was working with Brisbane City Council to find a solution and would go ahead with this year’s exhibition.
He said he decorated the walkway as part of the council’s Festive Footpaths programme, which encourages Halloween and Christmas decorations.
However, the walkway he created with his light display did not meet the council’s guidelines, causing the problem because he misunderstood the meaning of the word ‘get off’.
Jamie Lehmann’s Christmas lights (above) have been evacuated by Brisbane City Council following a neighborhood dispute last week
“We don’t close at Christmas anymore,” he said.
‘The council has agreed to allow me to hold the exhibition on the footpath under their Festive Footpaths programme, as long as we have made alternative arrangements regarding the front of the exhibition.
Mr Lehmann (above) will continue with the Christmas lights display in Coopers Plains this year
‘They said we had to get two meters back from the gutter.
‘The walkway we created through the display is now closed… meaning we can only be reached from the front.’
Mr Lehmann said he initially didn’t realize the curb needed to be clear so people could get out of their cars.
“I initially misinterpreted the criteria for the Festive Footpaths,” he said.
‘I didn’t understand the meaning of getting out. I thought it was just people looking at the lights from their cars, so that’s my mistake. It basically means getting out of the vehicle.”
Hundreds of Aussies were happy to hear the exhibition is going ahead.
Mr Lehmann had decorated the council footpath (above) outside his home, but it did not meet council guidelines
The council’s Festive Footpaths program required two meters of grass to be removed from the kerb, which Mr Lehmann has since done (above)
‘I’m so glad it’s been resolved. Keep the Christmas spirit going, it’s so wonderful to see,” one person wrote.
“I bet all the whiners are now bringing all their kids, nieces and nephews to stare in amazement at your fantastic display,” said another.
Mr Lehmann added that he and his wife have a theory that the ‘Grinch’ neighbor reported them to the council, but they don’t want to stir things up any further.
“We don’t have any problems with our immediate neighbors, so it’s not someone from our neighborhood who filed the complaint,” he said.
“We have a feeling we know who it is, but without knowing for sure I’m not going to make it public.”
Last week, Mr Lehmann received two complaint cards from the municipality about his lamps and announced that his 2023 exhibition had been cancelled.
The city threatened to issue an $800 fine for each day the decorations were left on the sidewalk.
“One person ruined it for thousands of people. That’s it, I’m done. I’m tired of this bullshit,” he said of the “Grinch” neighbor who reported him.
Mr Lehmann offered to move his display further away from the kerb, ensuring the required 1.2 meters under local council legislation, but the council insisted the display be pushed back into his letterbox.
Mr Lehmann announced on Tuesday that his Christmas lights (above) will remain on this year after canceling the show last week
Furious, Mr Lehmann criticized the council online, saying he had the right to decorate the path under the Festive Footpaths programme.
In a statement to Ny Breaking Australia, City Standards councilor Kim Marx said Brisbane City Council “did not advise this resident to completely remove his display, but did require a minor adjustment to allow other residents to park safely and were able to get out of their car’.
Fortunately, Mr Lehmann was able to reach an agreement with the council this week and will go ahead with this year’s exhibition.