Festivals may go under

FESTIVALS in Bidwill and Willmot could be axed at the expense of Chinese New Year celebrations as Blacktown Council reviews its annual community festivals to get more bang for its buck.

Crowds at both festivals have dwindled in recent years — about 250 people attended each event last year, a council report states. Housing NSW has indicated it will not continue organising the Willmot event.

The inaugural Chinese New Year celebrations at Nurragingy Reserve in January attracted the biggest crowd of any council event over the past 12 months, apart from Blacktown City Festival and Australia Day. The report recommended the $14,727 saved by axing the Bidwill and Willmot events be put to the Chinese New Year celebrations.

It also proposed Mount Druitt Festival be held to coincide with the Christmas Light Up concert in December to attract bigger crowds.

Just 300 attended last year's event, usually held on the first Saturday in September.

It's the same day as the long-running St Marys Spring Festival which gets more than 20,000.

The Tregear festival will continue and the one at Whalan will be reviewed after this year but Labor councillor Charlie Lowles, unhappy with the loss of two festivals in his ward, will oppose the motion at next week's meeting. "These festivities are for people to get to know each other, showcase talent and be aware of services in these communities," he said. "They're not meant to be highly patronised like the Royal Easter Show. That's not the intention."

Fellow ward five councillor Tony Bleasdale said: "People look forward to these festivals but the Liberal-run council seems hell-bent on not providing community services.

"They just don't get it."

■ Should both these

festivals be saved?

Have your say at: stmarysstar.com.au.

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