SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAM: Sincere thanks and congratulations to Ossie and Fatin for their extraordinary effort in putting together an exciting, inclusive and relevant school holiday program. Over the course of the two weeks, the Skateboard Clinic attracted on average of 15 participants per clinic on both Home and West Island throughout the week with an excellent share of male and female participants. The Twilight Soccer is always well attended with 13 children enjoying indoor soccer on Home Island. 
Our Origami session was held on West Island and attracted 13 participants between the two islands. Our inaugural Surf Life Saving WA Survival Program attracted 32 participants throughout the week with programs held on both islands. A total of 14 community members also participated in the Surf Live Saving Certificate which will no doubt be of great benefit to the community with their new skills. And this proactive team has already commenced planning for the January School Holidays. If you have ideas, comments or suggestions or better yet, can volunteer some time to assist, I am sure Isa, Ossie and Fatin would love to hear from you. Please contact them directly on 91626649 or email Alamat emel ini dilindungi dari Spambot. Anda perlu hidupkan JavaScript untuk melihatnya..

HOUSES FOR HOME ISLAND: At the Council meeting on 7 October, Council awarded the tender for the construction of two new houses on Home Island to BLS Construction. We are now working with the contractor to finalise the contract with the aim of having the construction materials on-island by February to commence construction. Sincere thanks to the Housing Reference Group for advice in getting to this stage. We will continue to work with the Housing Reference Group to find the best, most equitable and transparent way to allocate the new houses to residents.

POSITIVE AGING PLAN AND DISABILITY ACCESS AND INCLUSION PLAN: We were pleased to see months of effort and input from the community culminate in Council adopting these two important plans that demonstrate Council’s commitment to making our community accessible and safe for all. These plans will guide investment in improvements to services and facilities to aim to ensure they are accessible to all. Thank you to Tess Dyson, Isa Minkom and to the community for their input and effort on these documents. Both plans are available on the Shire’s website at https://shire.cc/en/your-council/council-documents.html or contact Isa Minkom at the Shire for a copy.

COUNCIL MEETING OUTCOMES: Other items on the agenda at the 7 October Council meeting included:

Development Approval for a new office for Watercorp on Home Island;
Development Approval for the refurbishment and expansion of the Retail Centre on Home Island;
A new Covid-19 Financial Hardships Policy;
Regular reporting on the Shire’s finances and accounts paid.
 
Council, acting in its capacity as Trustee, also considered several leasing matters including assignment of the Kafe Ku lease. Thank you Mak Alfin for your years of great service and congratulations Zulaikha on your new business venture. We wish you luck. Happy Jacks also applied successfully for a lease of a block in the LIA on West Island which Council approved subject to statutory processes. Congratulations Happy Jacks – great to see a local business grow and success. Best wishes. As always, the minutes are available to any interested member of the community at https://shire.cc/en/your-council/meetings.html

BEACH SAFETY: Following a few incidents, including the tragic event this year, the Shire is seeking the expert advice of our insurer and on their preliminary off-site advice, we have increased temporary signage at the Rip and are getting signs for The Spot and The Shack. A representative from our insurer is coming to Cocos in December and will do a more thorough assessment of the context and risks and will provide advice accordingly. In the interim, if you notice any of our temporary signs becoming lose, damaged or otherwise illegible, please let us know and we will replace them.

CAMPING: It is fantastic to see so many visitors coming to Cocos to enjoy our beautiful islands, so much so that accommodation providers are reporting that they are almost at capacity, or in some cases at capacity. As a result, our colleagues in tourism have reported an increasing interest from people wishing to camp whilst on holidays here. The Shire is supportive of 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. We also recognise that we need to 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). We are currently working with Councillors, Tourism, the AFP and other stakeholders to develop a policy to best manage these competing responsibilities. In doing so we are also looking at best practice from other Shires and State and Federal national parks models. If you have an interest in this subject, can I please strongly urge you to contact me to share your thoughts and discuss options for your input to be factored into the new policy. We want to make sure that our policy reflects community need and aspirations along with responsible management of the islands.

OSH AUDIT: We recently invited our insurer to Cocos to assess our progress against an OSH Action Plan they developed for us in late 2018. During their visit last week, they looked at several of our processes and documents and have assessed us as having achieved 90% in their audit. This means the Shire will be awarded the Tier 1 Diligence in Safety Certificate. I am so very proud of the effort all staff have put into making our workplace safer for everyone. Congratulations team.

PLAYGROUND AT SANDY POINT: Speaking of safety, we were impressed by the safety measures in place during the installation of a shade structure of the soon to be installed playground at Sandy Point. Good work Brian, Mazuansha, Fazli and Kamarudin.

HIGH TIDE AND POSSIBLE ROAD CLOSURES: The abnormally high tide expected over the coming weekend – Friday 16 October to Monday 19 October - is likely to impact the South End Road. The Shire will monitor the situation and will close the road if required. Please be aware of this and ensure your plans factor in a possible road closure and limited or no access to the South End (e.g. Scout Park, Pulu Maria, Yacht Club, Kite Beach) this weekend. Please observe road closure signs if they are in place and keep an eye on Facebook for the latest updates. Accommodation providers, could you please alert guests and suggest they make back-up plans to enjoy South End. 

OMAN TO PERTH CABLE: There has been some community speculation regarding a proposed subsea cable bringing high speed internet capacity to Cocos. The Shire has been provided with some information and permission by the company working on this project, Sub.Co and authorised to share information with the community. Sub.Co is a submarine cable infrastructure development specialist company, founded by an Australian internet entrepreneur. The project they are working on is the Oman Australia Cable (OAC) which will directly connect Muscat, Oman and Perth providing the only direct connection between the regions. It is also proposed to bring a link from the main link to Cocos, which will mean Cocos will have access to high speed internet capacity. The link is proposed to be brought ashore on the West coast of West Island. The OAC will deliver the lowest latency path between Australia and EMEA as well as complete diversity from all existing systems west of Australia.
Sub.Co representatives have advised that they do not provide a retail service so will work with a retailer of internet to make this service available to businesses and residents. Investigations are already well-underway with a proposed landing date in Cocos of late May 2021.

CYCLONE SEASON VERGE SIDE PICK UP: Cyclone season is fast approaching. Now is the time to start clearing out and securing any loose items that may become airborne through a weather event. The Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands will conduct a verge side pickup during the week commencing on Monday 26 October.
Items that will not be collected are:
Car Bodies; Motorcycles; Boats; Asbestos.
All Item can be stored one week prior to pickup date, no closer than two metres in from the road verge. For any more information contact Glen Brigg, Manager of Works and Services on 91626649. 

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