NOVEMBER COUNCIL MEETING: Council held it’s Ordinary Meeting for November last Wednesday on West Island. At this meeting Council approved the following:
A. Three approvals for three new temporary accommodation dwellings on West Island;
B. New policies for Camping, Complaints Handling, Recovery of Sundry Debts and Asset Management – copies of these policies are
on the Shire’s website https://shire.cc/images/files/Policies/Policy_Manual_2020_-_FINAL_V4.pdf
C. The meeting schedule for 2021. The schedule is given on Page 8 of this edition of the Atoll and on the Shire’s website: https://shire.cc/en/your-council/meetings.html
D. Council also supported a request from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to waive the fee for the use of the Elevated Work Platform (EWP) for treating wasp nests. This will make allow the team to be  much more effective in this work. See below for update on numbers of nests treated over the last fortnight by Razali and Aslie.
 
EMPLOYMENT OF APPRENTICE CARPENTER: Also on the agenda for the Council meeting was a request for Council support to apply for funding for an apprentice carpenter. Council supported the request based on aligning the organisational structure with the requirements of the organisation and implementing a succession planning strategy during a period when Australian Government subsidies are likely to reduce the financial impact on the Shire for a position that is needed. We will commence applications for funding as soon as possible and, pending the success of our applications, we will be advertising for that exciting position.

CORPORATE BUSINESS PLAN UPDATE – OCTOBER 2020: At the November meeting Council considered progress we have made against our Corporate Business Plan (CBP). The CBP is a useful tool for officers and Council in prioritising activity and to ensure activity aligns with community strategic priorities. This update provided an opportunity for the administration to audit themselves on their actions in relation to the CBP and for Council to assess progress. The audit is available to the community.
Please check at https://shire.cc/en/your-council/council-documents.html

CHRISTMAS TREE COCOS STYLE: The Shire is really pleased to partner with the Administrator and to be working with a small group of resident artists to create a Christmas Tree to acknowledge and celebrate the festive season. Cat McCartney and Lee Hegarty have designed a tree that will be uniquely Cocos and they need your help in collecting buoys. The buoys will be transformed into a special Cocos Christmas Tree for residents and visitors to enjoy. Please drop buoys at the front of Government House (House 26) on West Island and at the front of the Shire office on Home Island by Monday 23 November. We are considering the grassed area outside the arrivals door of the airport and would like community thoughts on this location.

SANDY POINT: Anyone who has gone down to Sandy Point in the last few days would be impressed by how lovely the area is looking with the new playground, which is proving popular with the littlies. We also hope people notice that the old wood-fired BBQ has been rebuilt and has a new stainless-steel plate courtesy of a great partnership between the Shire and IOGTA.

COMMUNITY BBQS: In addition to the Sandy Point BBQ, we are fortunate to have a highly skilled bricklayer who has been working with our team to rebuild the other wood-fired BBQs on West Island, Home Island and Direction Island. Please bear with us as this work is carried out.

FLOOD MITIGATION AND MANAGEMENT ON HOME ISLAND: The Shire has engaged a respected consultancy, AQ2 to carry out studies and make recommendations regarding options for better management and mitigation of flooding on Home Island. The consultant was on Cocos last week and is preparing the report now. Once we have this report we can consider options and apply for funding to mitigate the impact of flooding on Home Island.

HOME ISLAND CRC BUILDING RECLADDING: The Home Island CRC building is getting a much-needed facelift with new timber look recladding being istalled at the moment. This new cladding will replace badly rusted colourbond cladding and improve the look and lifespan of this important community asset. While building new assets is sometimes needed and always appreciated, it is equally important to maintain existing assets to get the best value from previous investment and ensure our Islands look cared for and well maintained.

SOUTH END ROAD: The Shire is very grateful to the Department of Defence for their support into a report on costed options for upgrading and maintaining the South End Road. Fulton Hogan and GHD did the investigations last week and should have a draft report for us early next year. We can then focus on securing funding for this work. In the interim, we will continue with our regular grading when road conditions allow and with the materials we have on-Island. Thank you for your patience as we work on this complex matter.

BEACH SAFETY SIGNS: In our best efforts to keep beach goers safe, we have placed a few signs warning of the possible dangers at The Rip, The Spot and The Shack. Can we please ask community members to leave the signs in place and to advise the Shire’s Manager Works and Services, Glen Briggs, if the signs need replacing. The signs are temporary until we get some specialist beach safety information from our insurers in mid-December.

LEASE PROPERTY INSPECTIONS: Our Asset and Property Management Coordinator recently completed inspections of commercial leases on the back of newly established processes for regular inspections of our residential rental properties. One of the issues that she found as a consistent problem was that lease boundaries are not adhered to. We are considering our best options to address this issue as it can lead to the community looking untidy and uncared for.

MACAO PAPER WASPS: Ranger Razali and Aslie have reported that since the last Atoll a fortnight ago, they have treated 215 wasp nests. Their personal best for one day was 40 They are constantly trying to improve their numbers and would appreciate assistance from the community to inform them of any nest sightings.

COCOS CAMPING: We have set up a new facebook page for people who enjoy camping. Please look for our page (Cocos Camping) and send a message to join to stay up to date with Shire information about camping.
Council’s newly adopted Camping Policy provides a sound platform for the Shire to better manage camping and aims to:
- facilitate camping as an experience for residents and visitors to Cocos, for people 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); and
- recognise the Islands’ capacity to sustain increased numbers, particularly in relation to emergency management and waste disposal.
 
Anyone with an interest in camping is strongly advised to read the new policy at https://shire.cc/images/files/Policies/Policy_Manual_2020_-_FINAL_V4.pdf and, as the policy is a live document, we invite suggestions on how it can be improved as we work through the implementation. 
A new permit application form will be available within the next few days and will be on this new Cocos Camping Facebook page and the Shire’s Facebook page. The intent is for people to lodge an application which the Shire will turnaround as quickly as possible. This Facebook page will also communicate campsite availability every Friday afternoon as of Friday 20 November. Please contact me with any queries about camping or this new policy and process. 

Two major projects will be commencing on Home Island in the near future.
  1. REPAVING OF JALAN REL: This project will result in improvements to this important road for Home Island. During this time detour signs will be in place. Please observe the detours and other signs and for your safety stay well clear of the work zone. Access to the Retail Centre will be from Jalan Bunga Mawar for this time.
  2. RETAIL CENTRE REFURBISHMENT: Materials to commence this large and exciting job have been ordered and are on the next ship. Regretfully, three large trees on the block will need to be removed to make way for the expansion of the Retail Centre. This work will commence on Monday 16 November and take three days. At 3pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, timber from the trees will be at the Home Island Green Waste for the community to access. Please stay out of the work zone and wait for the timber to be delivered to the Green Waste. A massive re-planting program on Home Island is underway to ensure our green cover and overall stock of trees is increased.

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