VISIT BY U.S. CONSUL GENERAL DAVID GAINER: The Shire President and Councillors welcomed Mr David Gainer, U.S. Consul General to Cocos on Wednesday. Mr Gainer spoke of the various ways his office can support positive relationships between Western Australia and the USA such as advising on scholarships, the provision of small grants and connecting researchers on matters of mutual interest. His office, based in Perth, also supports US Citizens who need assistance while in Western Australia.
Mr Gainer was impressed by Cocos, particularly the cohesive and welcoming community and was particularly pleased to have been able to speak with youth at the school and to be able to attend the Hari Maulaud Nabi celebrations at the Mosque on Thursday. It was a pleasure to host Mr Gainer and we hope he is able to come back to Cocos for a holiday.

CAMPING POLICY: As advised in the Atoll last fortnight, the Shire is developing a draft policy to assist in a responsible approach to an increased demand for camping on Cocos. The policy aims to:
  • - facilitate camping as an experience for residents and visitors to Cocos, who enjoy natured based experiences and are equipped to be self-sufficient, recognising that the Shire’s camp sites have limited facilities;
  • - balance making camping available to residents and visitors with the Shire’s capacity to provide and maintain core service infrastructure (e.g. toilets, shelters, BBQs);
  • - recognise the Islands’ capacity to sustain increased numbers, particularly in relation to emergency management and waste disposal.
The policy proposes two licenced camping sites being Scout Park and Direction Island and that permits must be obtained from the Shire (details below) prior to camping.
The draft policy allows for up to 14 days consecutive camping is at both Scout Park and Direction Island, with a maximum of 21 days camping allowable in any three-month period.
The Shire will commit to maintaining basic facilities to be shared by campers and day visitors. These are consistent with the requirements for nature-based camping and consist of eco (waterless) toilets, wood-fired BBQs and picnic tables. Campers must be prepared to supply their own potable water and firewood.
The draft policy will be presented to Council for formal adoption at the 11 November Council meeting, but we recognise that the policy is likely to need reviewing regularly to respond to unanticipated issues. Anyone with an interest in this policy is invited to contact me by Tuesday 3 November at the latest so that feedback can be presented in the Council agenda. Several local residents and representatives from stakeholder agencies gave up their time last Tuesday to assist with ideas for the draft policy. Thank you to all involved, we are grateful for your input and insights.

MACAO PAPER WASPS: Aslie Woren has joined our team and is working hard with Ranger Razali in trying to get on top of the wasps on Home Island. They are doing a fabulous job and in the past 10 days over 300 nests have been sighted and more than 50 nests treated using the EWP. On West Island, Happy Jacks team are doing an equally professional job in managing the wasps. A reminder, please be mindful if you are pruning or gardening. If you see a nest, please do not disturb it and do report it by calling or emailing the Shire or by using Snap, Send, Solve (the very easy to use app). Please do not treat nests with household spray as wasps then just build more new nests. We will provide an update on numbers treated in each Atoll so the community can see the progress being made. 

CARPARK AT FRONT OF SHIRE OFFICE: In an effort to improve access to the Shire Building and make it tidier and safer for our customers, we are paving a carparking area at the front of the building. We are very lucky to have Zah, who is a highly skilled bricklayer on Island. Zah is working with our great team on this project and then moving to other projects that will improve the amenity and appearance of our public spaces such as rebuilding the very tired and old wood-fired BBQs around Home Island and West Island, and will rebuild and reorient the BBQ on Direction Island so it is easier to use. Zah is also going to lead the team in rendering the Museum building which will protect the building from further deterioration and enhance this important community building.

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