A MUCH-LOVED Christmas light extravaganza has been cancelled after a road restructure made viewing unsafe.
Flora Hill residents Alec and Mary Ryan deck out their home each year with tens of thousands of lights, draped over handmade models of everything from Santa Claus to Australian animals.
Thousands of people visit the Ellis Street house every December to take in the magical display.
But a restructure of bike lanes and footpaths has left the couple without parking spaces outside their house, which Mr Ryan believes will put the crowds at risk from cars.
Mr Ryan said he was down in the dumps about cancelling the display, but it just wasn't safe anymore.
He hopes to be back and running next year, when he can keep viewers out of harm's way.
Mr Ryan only began the Christmas display in the past decade, at the start it was a joke as much as anything.
Flash back: Alec's home beams with festive cheer | 2014
But the Christmas wonderland grew year on year. He now has kangaroos, emus, a dolphin, a snowman, a Santa Claus, 27 reindeer and more.
Mr Ryan said the work was really for the children, who loved seeing the spectacular display. Some nights 80 children will be clustered on the footpath entranced by the sight. One boy who lives nearby comes every night.
Adults enjoy the lights too. Mr Ryan knows of one woman that comes up on the train from Melbourne every week, just to look at his Christmas lights.
Mr Ryan spends two months setting up the light display each year, which always runs from December 1 to January 1.
He starts his work on October 1 and keeps putting up lights until just before Christmas.
But he packs it down in just a few hours, with helpers a plenty.
Some nights as many of 700 or 800 people come to view the spectacular. The Ryans have had visitors from as far away as Adelaide and Darwin, especially to view their lights.
They even organise a Santa Claus to come and hand out lollies to children.
Mr Ryan said he wanted people to know the lights were cancelled, so they wouldn't come looking and be disappointed.
He made the decision after Bendigo's first separated bike late was installed on the south side of Ellis Street in April.
The lane meant car parks were removed on the street's north side, directly in front of the house.
This would have put viewers too close to passing cars for Mr Ryan's comfort.
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