Japanese Sister City donates to Blue Mountains bushfire mayoral relief fund

The Blue Mountains' Sister City in Sanda, Japan has made a significant donation to the Bushfire Mayoral Relief Fund.

The donation of just over $8300 - made by organisations, individuals, Sanda International Association (SIA) and the City of Sanda - will help local communities affected by recent bush fires to recover and rebuild.

The Sister City relationship between the Blue Mountains Sister Cities Committee (BMSSC) and SIA was formalised in August 1988 at Sanda City, and recently celebrated 30 years of international friendship - one of the longest standing Japanese Sister City relationships in Australia.

The Sanda/Blue Mountains relationship provides a forum for cultural, educational and economic interchange between the communities and encourages friendship, co-operation and cultural understanding.

At Buttenshaw Park in Springwood, the committee is now working to restore the Blue Mountains Sanda Japanese Friendship Garden. After a long period of drought, parts of the garden will soon be replanted with locally sourced roses.

Blue Mountains Sister Cities Committee members Janne Bent, Cr Chris Van der Kley, Allan Graham, Colleen Kime, Leigh Roden, Margaret Bowen and Joyce Henderson.

Blue Mountains Sister Cities Committee members Janne Bent, Cr Chris Van der Kley, Allan Graham, Colleen Kime, Leigh Roden, Margaret Bowen and Joyce Henderson.

The garden was originally planted in 2010 and includes features normally found in a Japanese Garden, such as a weeping cherry tree. The committee and volunteers also revitalised the renowned wisteria arbour, which is reminiscent of the world-famous flowerings in Japan every May.

Deputy mayor Chris Van der Kley joined the committee at the garden to acknowledge the donation.

"It's really a remarkable relationship that we have. Our committee members have watched Sanda grow as a city over these past 30 years, and many delegations have visited us," he said.

"We've seen our local students visit Hyogo and come home with a unique world view. We've hosted local exhibitions of children's artwork from Japan, and more. Both Sanda and the Blue Mountains have a unique character - it's wonderful to share what makes us special," he said.

BMSSC invites volunteers to join a monthly gardening morning to enrich and maintain the Sanda Japanese Friendship Garden at Buttenshaw Park. Those who wish to join should come to the wisteria arbour on the first Sunday of every month at 9am.

The Blue Mountains Bush Fire Mayoral Relief Fund has so far raised almost $95,000. For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/MRF.

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