Firstly, I would like to thank the Mayor and councillors for once again allowing live-streaming from the council meetings. I believe this is an important service that opens the meetings to more people. The live-stream can be viewed on The Islander Facebook page at any time.
Infrastructure including the new Prospect Hill stairway was discussed at the council meeting. The new parking lot is taking shape and people should be able to climb the structure in coming weeks, after a "soft opening" . There will be a more formal, official opening in July. I am pleased to report there is a special area for the coffee van and plenty of room for buses.
Speaking of infrastructure, Mayor Michael Pengilly was pleased to announced there was $1 million allocation in the State Budget for road improvements on KI. This allocation was to be spent over four years and was over and above the $2 million annual roads allocation to KI.
The new boat ramp at Emu Bay was also discussed after some bigger seas over the long weekend. There were some smaller rocks and seaweed deposited, but the structure seems to have held up. Councillors were informed that the contractor had been instructed to source larger limestone rocks to place around the edges. The council is also awaiting an independent engineers report.
Tuesday's council meeting began with a deputation from Sara Hourez, who has conducted extensive research into the impact of the 28 cruise ships that visited KI last season. She spoke about the impact of the cruise ship passenger crowds on local services and also the visitor experience. We will publish her full presentation online. She was warmly thanked by the councillors for all her work on the issue.
Councillors also pledged to start working in earnest on the issue of the Visitor Information Centre that remains closed after funding dried up, recognising that it will have to lead any effort to reopen the service in the council owned building at Penneshaw.
The council paid tribute to the passing of Island identity Graham Trethewey and also the three Island recipients of this year's Queen's Birthday Honours. Speaking personally, it was great honour to interview all three ladies, and I left the interviews not only with an appreciation of their accomplishments but also a full belly after cake, muffins, preserves, an omelette and even a treat for the dog. - Stan Gorton