News briefs

Council's "ignorance"

Blacktown Council has come under fire for commissioning two 40-metre high Maori poupou (carved poles) at the main gate of Nurragingy Reserve at Doonside. Mayor Len Robinson said it had commissioned the poles for the 30th anniversary of its sister-city relationship with Porirua in New Zealand in May. But Darug elder Sandra Lee said the council had shown ignorance of Aboriginal traditional ownerships of the area with a lack of respect to her people. "I'll block this project from taking our lands with such a cultural insult," she wrote to Cr Robinson and local state and federal MPs last week.

Premier to visit

Barry O'Farrell will visit Penrith this week for the unveiling of Penrith Progression, an initiative between Penrith Council and Penrith Business Alliance. It aims to revitalise the city centre by identifying projects, attracting investors and creating jobs. The initiative will focus on growth through the development of an economic masterplan and place-shaping framework to create an activation plan for key future projects and how they are funded.

Swim carnival

Students with disabilities can make a splash in March. Disability service provider Northcott is organising two carnivals to give students the chance to swim in a safe setting. "Past carnivals have only been open to students with physical disabilities but this year we're opening it up to students with intellectual disabilities," said Northcott recreation service manager Jodie Wilkins.

Students can enter as a team for their school or as individuals as part of a combined schools team. Northcott's swimming carnival for primary pupils with disabilities is on March 11 and the high school carnival is on March 25, both at Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre.

Details, registration (essential): or 9890 0143.

Kids' outdoor space

Children at the YMCA's Outside School Hours Care at St Marys Public School can look forward to a bigger and better outdoor learning space. Shade sails, chairs and tables and an above-ground "water tank" garden bed will be installed, thanks to $8000 through the state government's Community Building Partnership scheme.

Centre co-ordinator Kylie Bouveng said she was excited to take the children out of the classroom and provide them with a space where they could be active regardless of the weather. "This funding support will have a big impact on the community," she said.

This story News briefs first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.