The Hills and Hornsby council chatter

PARK-GOERS can expect to see some exciting changes in Gumnut Park at Cherrybrook from this week.

A Hornsby Council spokeswoman said community feedback showed people wanted exercise equipment so that will be a new feature of the park upgrade.

‘‘This is probably best described as exercise stations for sit-ups, bench-presses and so on,’’ she said.

Other features of the six-week upgrade are a new playground with slides, climbing equipment, undercroft area shopfront and interactive panels, two toddlers’ swings, a nest swing and a landscape upgrade.

‘‘New paths will be added, including a tricycle loop and north-to-south access connecting both ends of the park,’’ a council spokeswoman said.

‘‘The western boundary will be mass planted with native trees to help attract local birdlife.

"There will be some decorative arbour trees added, floral deciduous and evergreen, to provide shade and decorative interest. The soft-fall play area will be made of organic mulch and rubber.’’

IN OTHER COUNCIL NEWS:

Mapmaker's scholarship

The Hills Council’s senior spatial-systems officer Chunhua Zhang has been awarded a scholarship from Prime Minister Tony Abbot to complete a PhD at the University of Queensland.

Ms Zhang completed geographical information systems at South China Agricultural University in her home town of Guangzhou and a Masters of GIS in Canada.

She is a mapmaker for the council. The maps help with town planning, strategic planning, environmental mapping and infrastructure planning.

“I want to be an ambassador for Australian education in my home country of China,’’ Ms Zhang said.

“I’m living my dreams through education and if I can do it, many other young people can too; it just takes commitment.”

Council’s general manager Dave Walker said: “We’re very proud to have employees like Chunhua working for council.’’

Teddy Bear Picnic

Bring the family and your teddy to Lisgar Gardens this Sunday for Hornsby Council’s annual Teddy Bear Picnic.

Enjoy free entertainment including music by The Giggles, a balloon bop, egg-and-spoon races, paper-plane competition, facepainting, balloon twisting and storytelling.

■ At 11am to 3pm, Lisgar Gardens, Lisgar Road, Hornsby.

Plant giveaway

Free native plants will be given to The Hills residents at Bidjiwong Community Nursery on March 29.

This is run by The Hills Council which manages the nursery.

Nursery staff will advise on which plants suit your garden and Castle Hill Lions Club will cook a barbecue.

The nursery produces native plants for re-vegetation projects in the shire’s parks and reserves.

It is also a place where volunteers can learn about native flora, participate in propagating native plants and attend environmental workshops.

■ March 29, 9am to 1pm, Bidjiwong Community Nursery, Ted Horwood Reserve (off Renown Road), Baulkham Hills. Bring a rates notice as proof of address and a bag or box to take your plants home in.

Festival of good living

Hornsby Council’s Healthy Living Festival offers over 150 recreational, social and educational events in 82 places in the shire.

The festival promotes health and wellbeing.

‘‘Regardless of who you are or where you live, you’ll find something to excite you, from Tai-chi and kinder soccer to weightlifting and table tennis for seniors,’’ a spokesman said.

■ Opens March 16 with a carnival at refurbished Roselea Hall in Beecroft and ends April 13.

Watch your bunnies

Hornsby Council said pet rabbit owners must be careful in coming months as steps are taken to control local feral rabbits.

A council spokesman said in late March, National Parks and Wildlife Service will release RHDV, a virus that spreads from rabbit to rabbit and via biting insects.

‘‘It poses no threat to humans or any animals except rabbits,’’ he said.

‘‘Pet rabbits can be protected by having them vaccinated at your vet or by housing the rabbits in a mosquito-proof enclosure away from contact with feral rabbits.’’

Feral rabbits are a declared pest species that degrade the land and pose a significant threat to native animals and plants.

Design the Youth Week logo

The Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello, has announced $3750 of funding for The Hills Council to spend on Youth Week, April 4 to 13.

This year’s theme is “Our Voice – Our Impact”. There’s a design competition with $1000 prize and a chance to have your design used to brand Youth Week 2014.

“Youth Week is the largest annual youth participation event in Australia and we want all young people in NSW to be part of it,” Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott said.

■ Details: youthweek.nsw.gov.au.

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