I am delighted to advise that Ian Evans, our hard-working and dedicated Works Manager, received a Community Service Award from the Administrator for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Mrs Natasha Griggs during Natasha’s visit to Cocos last week. Ian was surprised and very humble about it but to his colleagues it was well-earned and much deserved recognition of his tireless efforts. Congratulations and thank you Ian from all of us.
 
 
Councillors and staff were pleased to have an opportunity to meet with representatives from the Department of Defence about the Runway Upgrade Project. We believe there are several opportunities to leverage from this project to get some great outcomes for our community beyond the actual runway project such as local business engagement, local employment and utilising plant and equipment while it is already on Island for community projects. We will be working with Council to ensure we make every effort to realise those opportunities. We thank the Department of Defence for making an effort to engage with us early in the project and acknowledge Natasha Griggs, Administrator for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands for her vital role in securing this visit. The response from the community to the briefing sessions was outstanding which demonstrated to the Department the community interest in this major project. It is likely that the team will visit again early in the new year so we should get further updates at the point.
 
Luluk Sloan, the Shire’s Community Projects Officer and I were privileged to be invited to meet the Senior Leaders from the Cocos Island District High School last week. They outlined the work they are doing to investigate the possibility of having a skate park on West Island. They are to be commended on their proactive approach and their willingness to work hard to see their vision realised. The future is in good hands with this outstanding group of young people.
 
An officer and inspector from the DWER Regulatory Services unit were on Cocos last week. They inspected our licensed Waste Management sites and acknowledged the significant improvements made by Ian and the team over the past two years. They also offered suggestions on further enhancements to the way in which we manage our waste which we will investigate over the coming months.
 
The month has flown past and the September Council meeting is almost upon us. Council will be formally considering whether to proceed to the next stage of the lease with Hender Property Group for the Eco-Resort, a new retail precinct on Home Island, the request from Parks Australia regarding a reptile conservation program, specifically the introduction of the Blue-tailed skink to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Pulu Belan and Pulu Kembang). Council meetings are open to the community so anyone can observe the decision making process. The Council meeting will be at Council Chambers on Home Island on Wednesday 26 September and will start at 4pm.
 
 
I would also take this opportunity to acknowledge Mr Parson Yapat (Nek Ainul) who has formally retired from the Shire. Nek Ainul’s enormous contributions to the Shire and the Community as the Works Supervisor will be long remembered and appreciated. We will miss his expertise and knowledge but also wish him the very best in his retirement. Terima kasih Nek, enjoy the fishing.
 
Parson with his family at his retirement function