CANBERRA VISIT: Meeting with Assistant Minister Nola Marino. The Shire President, the Administrator and I visited Canberra for a meeting with Assistant Minister Nola Marino. We had a very long and productive meeting and would like to thank the Minister for being so generous with her time especially during parliamentary sittings. We had a lengthy discussion on the DI proposal as the Minister had a number of questions to which we were pleased to provide detailed responses.
At this meeting we also discussed the Commonwealth’s plan for (and investment on) Cocos. We congratulated the Assistant Minister for her foresight and proactive approach to economic development on Christmas Island and told her we welcomed any investment in the IOTs. We noted the need on Cocos and that we, as the Shire, are willing and able partners of the Commonwealth in implementing initiatives on Cocos.
CHRISTMAS ISLAND RESEARCH ROUNDTABLE:
We were also pleased to participate in a research roundtable while we were in Canberra. The Shire President was an important contributor to the discussions. It was clear that the focus is the IOTs and that the Business Case will also present and explore research opportunities for Cocos.
RUNWAY PROJECT UPGRADE: The Shire President and I were pleased to meet with Greg Flanagan from the Department of Defence and Fulton Hogan’s Project Manager, Mr Jeff Byrnes in Perth on Monday. Mr Byrnes spoke highly of the skills set on Island as presented in the Cocos CV. Fulton Hogan is very keen to work with the Shire to ensure any and all opportunities to leverage community outcomes and benefits from this project are realized. To do so, we are very aware that ongoing communication is vitally important.
We very pleased to note that one project Fulton Hogan’s specialist consultants will be undertaking is a review of the South End Road. They will be looking at current situation, projections, options for securing the road and costs for each option. They will include a recommendation to inform our future discussions with the Commonwealth about the road. It is also likely they will have a storm water management specialist on Cocos and are very open to the Shire engaging with that specialist to discuss storm water management on Home Island.
In all it was a very productive first meeting.
MACAO PAPER WASPS: In an ongoing effort to manage the Macao Paper Wasp population, we will be commencing a fogging program early April. A flyer with all information on the fogging is in this edition of the Atoll and will be provided to each household on Cocos via letter drop.
POLICY MANUAL: Amongst other things, Council adopted the Shire’s updated Policy Manual at their Ordinary Meeting on 26 February. There a many policies that have an impact on decisions relating to community life so it is useful to know the policy position of Council on these topics. In that way, residents can be well-prepared and work within policy parameters in any applications to Council. See the Shire’s website https://shire.cc/en/your-council/governance.html for the updated Policy Manual.
LAND TRUSTS: Another important matter related to the manner in which we administer the Land Trusts. The agenda item 14 provides a useful summary of the Land Trusts purpose and good governance and anyone interested in the Trusts should review this document. The minutes are available on https://shire.cc/images/files/Minutes/2020/Minutes_-_Ordinary_Council_Meeting_26_February_2020.pdf
DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL PROCESS: We realise that the development approval process in local government can be confusing if it is not something you do regularly. So to assist in making the process as easy and transparent as possible, we have put together a guide to the Development Process and put it on our website.
In summary, Development Approval (also known as Planning approval) is required for most types of development and land use in the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The erection, construction or demolition (some) of any building or structure (above or below ground)
Building alterations or additions
Excavation / fill works.
Most development/land use proposal require development approval from the Shire before they can proceed. To obtain a development approval you need to lodge a development application with the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The Development Process and development application checklist aims to assist you in preparing and lodging a Development Application. When you are prepared to submit a development application, a copy of the Application for Development Approval and Checklist can be downloaded here https://shire.cc/en/services/town-planning.html
Of course, staff are also always available to answer any questions and to make sure the process is as smooth and trouble free as possible.
WORKS UPDATE: Work has been completed on the seawall restoration. After a false start on the 11thFebruary we were able to complete the radius seawall on the 24thFebruary which enabled us to have the machinery on the beach. This section runs from the concrete seawall, and is tied into the existing sand bags.
Construction of the new eco toilet at the West Island Yacht Club has been completed. Once the wiring of the solar system is connected in the next few days then the toilet will be operational.
The new lights at the West Island tennis court have been installed and can be used at any time. Please remember to turn them off once you have finished
It is disappointing to see the general rubbish is still being deposited at the green waste area on Home Island. Please deposit these item in the correct areas at the transfer station. Cardboard boxes can be placed in the slot at the Recycle Centre.
Any Metal waste can be placed on the metal (inert) pile at the transfer station.