Doonside residents rally to save festival

THE Doonside community has rallied to save the festival Blacktown Council wants to cancel this year.

A report recommended the festival not continue in its current format because of last year's poor attendance and high traffic management costs.

Doonside Festival has been an annual event since 1982, held on first Saturday of July.

It's held near Doonside railway station, near Cross Street and Hill End Road ,and costs the council $12,500 to run, compared with $7000 spent for other similar sized events.

The report recommended the council liaise with the festival committee to consider alternative sites.

Haywood Real Estate owner Fe Hayward has collected 100 signatures to save the festival and other businesses are doing the same.

It's hoped that around 1000 names will be on a petition being presented at next Wednesday's meeting, when Ms Hayward will address the council.

"Cancelling the festival would affect community morale," she said.

"It's the one day of the year Doonside gets together. Doonside needs this festival.

"We're a thriving and growing community with so many housing developments nearby."

She disputes the council's estimate that 250 people attended last year.

"The local senior citizens group raised $800 and the junior rugby league club raised $1500 last year," Ms Hayward said.

Ms Hayward wasn't keen on relocating the festival.

"Where else can we have it — Nurragingy Reserve?" she said.

Councillor Stephen Bali grew up in Doonside and still lives there today.

"There is a public outcry for this festival to be revitalised," he said. "It's a great opportunity for the community to get together."

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