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Packed out . . . Oamaru's Scotts Brewing Co duty manager Ed Hunt celebrates his venue reaching full house well before midnight on New Year's Eve. PHOTO: SHANNON GILLIES

Plans are being made to see in 2018 in style, after the absence of a Waitaki District Council-organised New Year’s Eve celebration led to members of the public taking action this year.

The lack of an organised public celebration was a talking point on social media before December 31, which resulted in Oamaru couple Stephen and Lisa Carter organising an informal get-together to mark the new year under the Waitaki District Council office clock tower.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the council had started to plan a new year celebration to welcome 2017, but time constraints forced those plans to be shelved.

“We had attempted to put something together but it was too little, too late to get what we wanted for entertainment,” Mr Kircher told the Oamaru Mail

“We didn’t think it was enough for the whole evening so we had to pull the pin on that. With the interest, we will start earlier this year than when we did last year. We want an evening that’s worthy of Waitaki.”

Any council-organised celebration would be a family-friendly one, which would give people the option of seeing in the new year outside of licensed premises.

“We’re not wanting to take away from that. We’re really looking to provide opportunities for families and others that want to go out, but don’t want to go to a bar. We’re looking at how we can make it interesting for families with young kids, right through to adults.”

A group of council staff will work on the project, while Mr Kircher was also keen to bring in members of the public who had expressed an interest in helping organise the event.

“We’ll get them involved and work towards having a really memorable evening to to see out 2017 and welcome in 2018.”

He said it was too early to say what the celebration would involve and where it would take place.

He praised the efforts of Mr and Mrs Carter in organising a small celebration at the last minute, and believed it showed there was a need for a town-wide New Year’s Eve celebration.

“I thought it was great. It . . . showed people are after something just that wee bit different away from the bars, which is what we are intending to do. I take my hat off to them.”