FESTIVAL OF COCOS ART AND LIFE POETRY/PANTON: The simultaneous Poetry on West Island and Panton on Home Island a couple of weeks ago was a great success. Sincere thanks to John Clunies-Ross for sharing his wonderful original work and to Nek Su for his panton. Also thanks to the community for joining in and sharing their own work or a favourite. As the first FOCAL (Festival of Cocos Art and Life) event, it was a great success. 
The next FOCAL event is Community Art Trail at The Barge which will be a meandering walk through The Barge gardens which will take you on a journey of colour and inspiration through isolation. It will commence the 24th September and continue for two and a half weeks. FOCAL is asking for submissions of sculptures, hanging art and pieces of all descriptions to be included in the Art trail so it’s not too late to get involved! All artwork will be returned to the artists at the completion of the Art trail Exhibition. Entry is free and work submitted will be required to be weather durable for this outdoor trail. Public Art workshops for both adults and children will also be available to the community for those who would like to take part in several joint projects which will contribute to the Art Trail. First workshop to be held Monday 5th October and second workshop to be held Friday 9th October. Times for these workshops will be confirmed closer to its dates. We are also inviting you to join us in the mural project which will take place in October. The mural will reflect the life and culture of Cocos and will be a vibrant addition to Home Island. Dates to be confirmed.

TWILIGHT MARKETS: Friday last week marked the start of a new approach to our regular monthly market days. The Home Island Foreshore came alive with people enjoying delicious Cocos Malay food and a range of activities. Congratulations to our Community Development Team for a sensational evening which we are planning to make a regular feature on the Cocos calendar.

RUOK DAY: And once again the Community Development Team excelled in putting together a fabulous day for the community last Saturday. Over 150 people from Home and West Island came together to enjoy some community camaraderie and fun. We would also like to acknowledge Shane, Tania, Huzaifah, Dr Dan, the Shire President, VMR, AFP, Youth and Shire staff for helping us make the day such a success. It was also a great reminder to check in with friends, colleague and neighbours to ask R U OK?  

WEST ISLAND GYM AND RECREATION PRECINCT DEVELOPMENT: As many in the community would be aware,  a Recreation Precinct has long been flagged as a community priority for West Island. In approx. 2010 a recreation centre that incorporated a gym and other indoor recreation facilities was being considered but the plans were shelved after expectations increased the costs far beyond the budget. In recent Shire masterplanning and strategic planning, a gym for West Island has been again flagged as a priority, and our masterplanning identifies the area near the golf donga and tennis court as the most sensible location. 
In the 2020/21 budget, Council allocated $250,000 towards a gym on West Island; and based on sound planning and community engagement, the Shire was fortunate to attract a further $300,000 Commonwealth funding which gives us a great opportunity to combine the Shire’s funds and Commonwealth funds to deliver on something of substance for West Island.
As a $550,000 project, we think we can deliver the following:

1. A new indoor gym;
2. A outdoor decked area that ties the facilities (golf, gym, tennis) together and can be used for outdoor fitness activities – e.g. yoga, Pilates, boot camp etc which would also double as an outdoor community/sports gathering space – e.g. wind-ups, presentations, after-sport gathering etc.
3. New universally accessible ablutions, that would also serve the broader community;
4. Replace the aging golf club donga bar facilities;
5. Refurbish the existing golf club donga as a storage facility;
An outdoor BBQ/basic kitchen area that opens on to the deck for community and sporting events.

We are in the process of consulting with the Golf Club and Tennis/WISRA to refine the concept and will then commence broader formal stakeholder and community engagement.  
In the interim, if anyone has any queries or suggestions regarding this concept, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

HOME ISLAND RETAIL CENTRE UPGRADE: The local contractors have completed the subfloor structure of the Home Island Retail Centre as the first stage of the redevelopment of this building and we are very appreciative of their prompt and hard work and for doing all they could to avoid any disruption to the retailers. We are still working our way through the plans and changes and still need to investigate if any of the bearers (under floor beams) need straightening. We are hoping for materials to be sent up on the November ship and in the interim we can start framing up the extensions, not interrupting any retailers until all materials are here on the island to minimise the shop closure times. We are planning to start on the northern end of the building and trying to limit disruption to one shop at a time.

THE SHACK: We were very saddened and disappointed that there appears to have been some conflict at "The Shack”. Visiting surfers have reported feeling intimidated and made to feel unwelcome, which is so out of character for people living on our beautiful islands. A gentle reminder that visitors to our islands are a critical component of our island's economy and one of the things most people comment on is how friendly and welcoming we are – so much so that visitors feel like part of the family – and that we so generously share our special and favourite places on the islands. Visitor numbers to the islands are expected to remain high for the remainder of this year which is great news for the business community. So let’s all see what we can do to make sure that our valued visitors return to the mainland with tales of the natural beauty and the warm and generous welcome they got here on Cocos. While this is a community issue, not specifically a Shire issue, we are keen to work alongside the community to reduce conflict and make sure everyone, resident and visitor alike can enjoy Cocos and are open to ideas and feedback.

These are just a few items I thought would be of interest to our community. Please contact me to discuss these or any other Shire matters.

Andrea Selvey
Chief Executive Officer