There is no doubt the events of the past few weeks have had an impact on our lives and presented challenges few of us ever dreamt we would need to manage. It has been uplifting to see how well we, as a Community, have come together to rise to these challenges in creative and inspiring ways; how we have looked out for one another and put past grievances aside. And while it may be that this dynamic situation will continue to throw new challenges our way, we will pull together, better, stronger, more resilient and tighter knit than ever before. Thank you Cocos Community – I can think of no other place I would like to be and no other group of people I would rather be with.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY:  The Shire team is doing all it can to ensure we can continue to deliver the best services we can during this time, noting that the way in which we deliver those services may change.  Many of our services and questions can be dealt with over the phone or via email. Please phone 9162 6649 or email Alamat emel ini dilindungi dari Spambot. Anda perlu hidupkan JavaScript untuk melihatnya.first if you need to access our services – you will be surprised at how much can be done online. 

UPCOMING EVENTS:  Speaking of online, there are amazing platforms and apps that will allow us to connect as a community in a digital rather than a physical space.  So, while Anzac Day and ASDD traditional gatherings have been cancelled, we are excited to offer innovative and new ways to commemorate these occasions.
 
Anzac Day - We would still encourage people to be up at Dawn to participate in our online service. We are delighted that our new SNCOIC, Sergeant Matthew William Boardman of 453 Squadron will be giving the Anzac Day Address, followed by the flag ceremony and some poignant and stirring music from Trevor Hegarty. The link to access this online ceremony will be in the next Atoll, on the Shire website and will be sent to everyone on Facebook. Following the service, we are encouraging everyone to have their morning coffee or early breakfast on their front lawns where they can see neighbours while maintaining the appropriate and necessary social distancing. And speaking of Matthew, it is a pleasure to welcome Matt to Cocos. Matt joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 2004 and has been posted predominately in NSW but also did a stint in Darwin. Matt has had three operational deployments in various locations in the Middle East including Afghanistan, Iraq and in the UAE. I am very much looking forward to Matt’s Anzac Day Address.
 
ASDD - This is also a very special occasion in our cultural calendar so the Shire team is putting together a creative and interactive program that will allow people to participate from the comfort of their homes. Please keep an eye out on the Shire’s Facebook for more information about upcoming activities, such as the daily photos and videos.
 
SOCIAL MEDIA: During this period, we are going to rely much more heavily on social media platforms to deliver information but also very importantly, to continue to foster and nurture oursense of community and togetherness. However, we are aware that some members of our community do not have social media accounts. We are more than happy to talk you through this – so if you have access to Internet and want to join in but need a little help, please contact our friendly staff who will talk you through the steps in a way that is very easy to follow.Please phone Isa Minkom on 9162 7797.

LIBRARY SERVICES: While the library is closed our fabulous library staff are more than happy to deliver library resources. Please give Denise Jones a call on 9162 7588 or contact Nek Namira (Danie Olbio) on messenger. Denise is also keen to show residents the world of online resources available to library members. E-books, e-magazine, genealogy resources… so much can be accessed via your library card from any location you find yourself. Please don’t hesitate to contact Denise. A more detailed overview is included in this edition of the Atoll.

DIRECTION ISLAND RESORT PROPOSAL: After almost 18 months of discussions, robust community engagement and careful consideration by Council (acting in their capacity of Trustee of the 1984 Land Trust) has approved the lease of a portion of Direction Island to Cocos Boronia Resorts (CBR) for the purpose of building a luxury eco-resort. The lease terms and every aspect of the proposed development are carefully explained in the Business Case which is on the Shire website for any member of the community to review. It should be noted that, given the current situation, we have provided a 9-month window within which CBR must execute the lease. Once the lease is executed, CBR will have a busy time gathering the many items of due diligence requested by Council for the lease to continue. 

MACAO PAPER WASPS: With the EWP on Home Island, the team (Wedding and Neale) have been able to make a great deal of progress in treating wasp nests, especially those located higher up in trees. Since 17 March they have treated over 350 nests on Home Island, despite a few days of interruption due to the rain. Thank you to members of the public for helping us to find nests – please keep those reports coming. If you see a nest on Home Island, please let the team know taking note of as much precise information on the location as possible. Neale said he wishes fish were as easy to find. We acknowledge the Commonwealth for funding this program and for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for their advice and support.