BUILDING BETTER REGIONS FUND (BBRF) APPLICATION TO RESTORE THE TOKOH / OLD WORKSHOP ON HOME ISLAND: The Australian Government has announced a grant opportunity under BBRF that provides the Shire with an opportunity to secure funds to restore the Old Workshop/Tokoh on Home Island. If we are successful in our application, funds would be used to refurbish this important heritage building which would then be used to house a new, well positioned visitor centre, museum and a commercial retail space.
It would be wonderful for the community to see this important building, which has enormous heritage value, repurposed and maintained for future generations.
This prominent building, which has enormous heritage value, is currently in a very sad state of neglect and the cost estimate of approx. $2million for its restoration, is beyond the capacity of the Shire to fund – which is why our grant application is so important.
The criteria for the grant funding include points for each supporting partner willing to contribute a minimum of $1000. The application process is expected to be highly competitive and every point will count. By engaging with our community and obtaining some supporting partners, we will together be able to give this application the best chance possible, and in the process support our community with a refurbished building that adds value to our community. We have written to local businesses and community organisations to please consider making a contribution of a minimum of $1000 to this project. Funds would be required only if the Shire’s grant application is successful and not needed until the 2021/22 financial year.

If any business, organisation or individual in the community would like to make a contribution, we would love to hear from you as soon as possible.
 
TOKOH STORM DAMAGE: Speaking of the Tokoh/Workshop, we are currently working with our insurer to assess the damage to the roof of this building sustained in the storm event in January. Our insurer has engaged a structural engineer to assess the damage and advise on how to manage the repairs. We hope to have this report within the next few weeks. In the interim, the road parallel to the building needs to remain closed for public safety reasons. Please observe road closed signs and do not use this road. Thank you for your patience as we work through this process. 

EMERGENCY BOXES: We would like to acknowledge the AFP for the Safety Boxes they have placed in strategic locations on West Island. The boxes are large bright blue plastic containers, with a yellow placard on the front identifying them as AFP Safety Boxes. They contain a small first aid kit with bandages and dressings, a separate tourniquet and a portable radio ready on Marine Channel 20. They also contain instructions on the inside lid, clearly visible when the box is opened.
These boxes are located at:
  • The Yacht Club
  • Scout Park
  • The Shack
  • The Spot
  • Trannies Beach
  • North End
(There are also two older boxes, with AFP signs on them located on South Island.)
These boxes have proven their value and have assisted people needing emergency equipment. But is important that they remain fully stocked so if anyone uses any items, please let the Cocos Police know as soon as possible so they can make sure the Safety Box is replenished and ready in case it is needed again.

NATIVE VEGETATION REGENERATION PROJECT: The Shire crew has commenced clearing the bush coconuts along Bob’s Folly to highlight the natural trail of calophyllum trees (pokok nymplong) that run alongside the track. The clearing has allowed the calophyllum trees to be clearly to be visible – they are absolutely spectacularly.
Not only will this allow the established trees more space to growth and flourish, it will also allow new saplings a chance to grow without having to compete with the bush coconuts. The Shire will also commence planting more native trees, in particular the calophyllum, with an aim of create a space which will attract birds and where we can experience native forest in years to come.
We are seeking a name for this new trail and will be running a competition in the near future. See the next edition of the Atoll for details and the entry form.

POLICY MANUAL REVIEW: While internal governance is not the most exciting news, it is important for a contemporary and professional organisation to have good governance and a sound policy manual assists with that goal. Our policy manual is currently under review and we would like to offer the community a chance to comment on policies that they have an interest in and may have an impact on activities and facilities they value. If you have an interest in this project and would like to review the policy manual please see https://shire.cc/images/files/Policies/Policy_Manual_2020_-_FINAL_V4.pdf or contact Azia Bulka on 9162 6649 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get a copy of our manual. 

PLANNING FOR OUR FUTURE: The Shire is running a stakeholder workshop on Wednesday to commence gathering background information to assist us in developing a plan for the future. It is a legislative requirement that local governments carry out a full review of their strategic plan every four years and the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands plan is now due. 

The Shire will carry out a robust community engagement to ensure community aspirations are captured in the coming months; however, we also feel it is critical that the community engagement is informed and realistic. In considering possible parameters to inform the community engagement, the Shire would like to first discuss the following matters with stakeholders to have a clear and shared view which we can use to inform community input.
  1. Coastal vulnerability: Funded by the Australian Government, the Western Australian (WA) Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has been working with the local Shire to conduct a coastal vulnerability assessment on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. We are currently awaiting the final report from this project, and decisions on next steps will be made in coming months. Once available, it will provide strategic direction for future development, considering potential climate change impacts. It may also be used to guide investment decisions by Council and government agencies in terms of the location and maintenance of coastal infrastructure. An interim position for the Shire on development will be prudent in the meantime.
  2. Current infrastructure capacity: Any discussion about the future development of Cocos will need to be mindful of the current infrastructure capacity. i.e. water, power and sewerage, along with the Commonwealth Government’s appetite to increase capacity.

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