Puslinch neighbours still fighting Fox Run Christmas display

By Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PUSLINCH — Some Puslinch residents continue to oppose a popular Christmas display outside a neighbour's house, despite it being toned down this year under a new municipal bylaw.

Shawn Gusz has held elaborate Halloween and Christmas displays for several years, attracting thousands of people in the region to his Fox Run Drive home.

It got so popular the township created a new bylaw, requiring permits for lighting displays and setting rules around how they can operate.

Gusz applied under the new bylaw with a smaller, less advertised display and was approved.

On Wednesday Puslinch council will hear an appeal of that licence, as several neighbours still consider it a nuisance creating safety issues and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

John and Kathy Holford are appealing the licence, with other Fox Run Residents voicing their support.

The display is set to run Dec. 19-26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be a display on the property and cars can pull up, stop then watch and listen “for a set time.” It is expected 500 to 600 cars will come to view the display.

Some residents feel they have been unfairly labelled and described as “irate.”

“We feel the need to start by telling you who we are as Mr. Gusz’s public disparaging comments have painted us as irate, selfish, killjoy neighbours. We are in fact a hard working, low key, fun loving family,” the Holfords wrote.

The Holfords said the show, put on by Gusz, is a burden they must endure over the course of Christmas.

“We have endured the show for several years now and we are so grateful to finally be given the opportunity to voice our concerns.” the Holfords wrote.

An additional Puslinch resident, Andrew Hogg, wrote to council his worry someone will be injured over the course of the event put on by Gusz.

“I am not aware of anyone being hit by a vehicle thus far but if these dynamics continue, it is just a matter of time before a walker, child or pet is injured. Our street is simply not set up for excess traffic in conjunction with pedestrian traffic.” Hogg wrote to council.

One suggestion written to council is to have Gusz’s display somewhere designed for events, like the Puslinch Community Centre.

“Again, as has been said by members of the community and Council alike, such displays are better situated to the Puslinch Community Centre.” the “Fox Run estate neighbours” wrote.

Gusz explained to council of his efforts to compromise with disaffected residents by making his display shorter and more informal.

“Display will be shorter and more basic this year, leading to less time staying around by onlookers. Signage has been discarded due to the residents not wanting signs in our area. We complied. As we are no longer promoting this, anyone that comes will simply follow the road in and out,” said Shawn Gusz’s application for the display.

The matter is on the agenda for the Town of Puslinch to deliberate at its Wednesday morning meeting.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

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