My first month in the role of CEO for the Shire and on island has been wonderful. I am excited by the opportunities and challenges of living and working in such a remote and interesting location and to working with the dedicated and professional team at the Shire. I would like to particularly acknowledge Jo Soderlund for her great work as Acting CEO.
I look forward to working with stakeholders and the community as I am of the strong belief that we get the best outcomes by working together. I am trying to meet with as many agencies and individuals as I can but if I have not approached you yet, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am on Home Island every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and West Island every Tuesday.
Over the past month, Council has sent delegation to Canberra and had a follow up visit from Minister John McVeigh. Details about both those opportunities to highlight our issues and showcase the community are in a separate article in the webiste.
We have also hosted a visit from Western Australian Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage who is working with the Shire and the Australian Government to determine the vulnerability of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to coastal hazards. The project has been developed in response to key recommendations of the Indian Ocean Territory Climate Change Risk Assessment in June 2010 to properly plan in light of a changing coastal environment. During their visit the Project Team has deployed equipment at several locations both inside the lagoon and ocean side of the atoll to measure waves and currents and have undertaken coastal surveys at various locations around West Island and Home Island to compile an inventory of built infrastructure and natural assets that may be affected by coastal hazards in the short term and into the future.
At the conclusion of the data collection in late 2019, the Project will deliver a report and maps and will form the first phase to deliver a Local Planning Strategy and a new local planning scheme. The deliverables arising from this work program may also be used to guide investment decisions by Council and government agencies in terms of the location and maintenance of coastal infrastructure. We are working with the project team to develop a comprehensive communication and engagement strategy to ensure the community is aware, informed and, wherever possible, engaged in the process.
As the Community would be aware, we have had swells that have resulted in road damage making it necessary to close the south end of the road. Ian and the works crew do everything they can to open the road as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as they carry out the work.
At the Council meeting on 25 July Council will be considering the following items:
- May Monthly Financial Statement and Lists of Accounts paid;
- Approval for a holiday home to continue to operate at 61 Beacon Heights;
- An amendment to the Town Planning Scheme – rezoning Lot 163 Beacon Heights;
- The lease option for Lots 223 & 224 Sydney Highway;
- An application from the P&C to waive fees for the Sea Container park; and
- Voting delegates to the WALGA AGM.
Full agendas are available on the website or you can give me a call if you wish to know more about these items. We will report on Council decisions in the next edition of The Atoll newsletter.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for making Neale and I feel so welcome. We know we are going to enjoy living here and being a part of this great community.
Chief Executive Officer