5-year plan continued

Following on from the article posted in St Francis Today on Thursday – The 5-Year Plan.

Having had time to listen the audio and digest detail of the 5-year plan proposed by Messrs Furphy and Gray on Wednesday, there is no doubt the homeowners of St Francis Bay have a huge role to play. Simply put it is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. On the one hand we have a decaying infrastructure that needs urgent attention if it is not to negatively influence not only property values, but also the general economy of the area. On the other hand we have a municipality that simply do not have the funds to invest in fixing the infrastructure and thus needs homeowners to step into the breach.

There have been many comments that the Kouga Municipality disregards the needs of St Francis Bay and in certain matters they do. But a comment by Wayne Furphy during his presentation certainly should give us cause to reflect. We have all witnessed the carnage in townships, and even at places of learning of late, where the masses feel there needs are not being catered for. Furphy went on to say he would not want to be a councillor returning to his home in a township to face the wrath of a community for non-delivery of services.

And he is right! The councillors have to try and manage a limited budget to cater for everyone and unlike our peaceful reaction when things don’t go our way, having your house burnt down, having your family attacked, or worse, certainly puts a different slant on the challenges these community appointed representatives face. Are the needs of some of the townships less important than our roads or our sewerage? Certainly the amount of money that needs to be spent on services in townships is disproportionate to what these township pay to the coffers of KM but that is how it works, like it or not. At least we have these services even if they are not quite up to the standard we were used to pre 1994. That is not to say that KM could not be better managed but right now we must live with the status quo.

So if the municipality cannot help, it has to fall on the shoulders of the homeowners of St Francis if they want to make St Francis a better place to live. The 5-year plan was a well put together analysis of firstly what needs to be done and secondly, a suggestion of how it can be done (see details of estimated costs at the end of this post). The figure of R200 million over the next five years, or R40 million a year out of the pockets of homeowners may seem unachievable but as Furphy pointed out St Francis Bay rates are some 0.2 to 0.3 percent lower than many of the cities of South Africa and significantly lower than the levies charged at some of the private estates on the Cape South Coast and the beautiful tropical estates on KZN’s North Coast.

Furphy went on to say that the greater St Francis area collectively pays approximately R50 million into the coffers of KM each year and thus if each homeowner were to pay into a fund an amount equal to their annual rates, this figure is easily achievable. Initially this would be a voluntary payment and certainly could not be enforced but Furphy did lay out plans to create a formal Section One company that would manage these funds into the future but this would require declaring the area a Self-Improvement District (SID) which could take a year or more. In the interim the funds would be managed by the St Francis Bay Residents Association which is a legitimate body entitled to oversee management of the funds.
If the infrastructure continues to degrade further, Furphy painted a picture of a possibility of property values falling 25 or even 50 percent. In other words a R2 million home would lose some R500K plus of its value against paying around R60000 in additional rates over the next five years (figures illustrative based on rates charge of R0.6% suggested by Furphy). To those concerned with their investment it is a consideration but those barely making ends meet each month … not so much.
Certainly not everyone who owns a home in St Francis Bay can afford to pay an extra few thousand or so Rands every month for many are on fixed incomes already taxed by ever increasing food process, school and tertiary education fees, rising fuel and electricity costs but there are those who can contribute and it is to these homeowners that the community will have to rely to at least kick start the urgent projects. Going forward it is possible both National and Provincial Government may come to the regions aid in terms of the eroding beach and the river but it is unlikely that the roads, storm water drainage and sewerage will be on their agenda.

There is a lot more to be written and discussed on the 5-year plan going forward for it certainly has replaced Thyspunt as a priority subject for the moment particularly with the masses of holiday makers who will descend on the village in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to monitor the reaction of those non-resident homeowners when and if they attend a similar presentation planned later next month. In the interim please feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this article for possibly your say can assist the residents association in fine tuning their plans going forward.

Read St Francis Bay Residents Association document

ST FRANCIS ROCKS 2015

St Francis Rocks 3

Click to Enlarge

ST FRANCIS ROCKS 2015 annual Community Concert in the Park – proudly presented by Village Square Super Spar & Tops has been confirmed for Saturday 12th December on the Village Green.
This popular free community event has established itself over recent years as the official kick off to the holiday season in St Francis Bay and is supported by local businesses including the Village Square Super Spar & Tops, Legends, The Ratepayers Association, Harcourts, St Francis Links, Brooklands Hardware and St Francis Brewery.

The event is the brainchild of John Hammond, head of the Business Chamber and owner of Legends, who is delighted with the public response, saying “ This is the 3rd year we are organising the concert and each year we grow bigger and better as we build on previous successes and increased local support.” Richard Moolman owner of Village Square SuperSpar & Tops adds “The holiday season is important to all businesses in St Francis, but for the other 48 weeks of the year we support and rely not only each other, but each other’s businesses. Presenting St Francis Rocks is one of the many ways in which we, the business owners, like to give back to the community that is so important to us.”

Due to popular demand the concert sees the return of local bands including Johnny Soxx & Jack Rabbit Slims, Well Done Son, Toby & Norman and Absent Irish. New names to the line up this year are Assanda, Francois Hugo & Rob Thompson plus the world acclaimed guitarist and local resident Marc Maingard and his Marc Maingard Band.

No tickets are required, although a limited number of tables are available for pre-booking with funds paid for those going to St Francis Bay Home Care. Simply pack your picnic, blanket and chairs, head down to the Village Green from 12pm on Saturday 12th December and enjoy a festive feast of family entertainment.

To see other events in St Francis this holiday season visit HOLIDAY EVENTS

Article by Jo Brown

 

Pam Golding Ladies Golf Day

Ladies Golf weekend in St Francis Bay

Pam Golding Properties Ladies Golf Open Weekend Rocked St Francis

Jeff Clause, Director of Golf and Operations at St. Francis Links has the saying “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a GOOD time”. That is exactly what happened over the weekend of 22nd and 22rd November when 164 ladies gathered in St. Francis Bay to participate in the Pam Golding Properties Ladies Golf Open Weekend.  This tournament gives the ladies the opportunity to play one round of golf at St. Francis Links and one round at St. Francis Bay Golf Club.

Golfing ladies came together from all over the Eastern Cape, Western & Southern Cape and Gauteng.  From Pretoria to Paarl! The boundaries of this tournament extend every year and soon will not only be the biggest ladies tournament in the Eastern Cape, but also in South Africa.

Ladies Golf St Francis Links and St Francis Bay Golf Club - Blue & Bling winners

BLUE & BLING WINNERS: – Jenny Smith, Julia Reed, Jean Campbell
(Click to enlarge photo)

In spite of the cancellation of the first round of golf on Saturday due to heavy rain, the ladies made up for the disappointment with joyful celebrations during the dinner and dance that evening. The theme was “Blue and Bling” and costumes varied from denims to hats with flashing lights!

Better weather on Sunday made for excellent scoring on both courses. After a tasty lunch and prize giving most ladies have indicated that they will again participate in 2016!

The highlight of the tournament was the possibility that a lady could win a Hole-in-One prize. On the 17th hole at the St. Francis Links Crawford Dougall and Dirk Ellis VW sponsored a VW UP as prize and on the 10th hole at St. Francis Bay Golf Club, Annemarie de Raay from Annemarie’s Boutique sponsored a R5000 shopping voucher! Two ladies came close to win these prizes.

There were 14 prizes to be won with the first and second prize winners on both courses as:

Pam Golding Ladies Golf - winners

FIRST: Ingrid Krige, Jenny Paola, Lois Fox from Pam Golding Properties, Jean Fynn, Heilie Uys (Click to enlarge photo)

  • Francis Links:
  • First: Ingrid Krige and Jenny Paola from Pretoria Country Club
  • Second: Hilda Hofmeyer and Venessa Cloete form Knysna Golf Club
  • Francis Bay Golf Club:
  • First: Jean Jynn and Heilie Uys from STFBGC
  • Second: Liz Keller and Bev Strain from Knysna Golf Club

This tournament brings not only lady golfers together, but gives the local businesses the opportunity to participate as sponsors. The Main sponsor was Pam Golding Properties who had been involved with St. Francis ladies tournaments since 2006. Other sponsors were:

  • Aqua Spa & Skin Clinic
  • Prestige Beauty & Body Boutique
  • Glo Beauty Studio
  • Hibiscus Health & Beauty Studio
  • Village Square Super Spar
  • Francis Point Vineyard

This tournament is an example of putting skills, endurance, enthusiasm and cooperation from two golf clubs together to ensure not only the success of the tournament but also promoting ladies golf in the Eastern Cape. The publicity this event has engineered is going far past the Village borders.

Organisers Pam Golding Ladies Golf in St Francis Bay

ORGANISING COMMITEE: Dawn Speirs, Carol Hemsley, Sandy Cunningham, Jeff Clause, Janine vd Merwe, Thinus Keller, Jean Fynn, Jenny Schulze, Heilie Uys

Save & Exit

Heilie Uys
STFBGC Ladies Captain
Tel: 042 298 0014 / Cell: 082 465 0935 / E-mail: huys@ibi.co.za

New Vodacom Towers

One of the matters brought up in the meeting of the St Francis Bay Residents Association evening by Wayne Furphy was the matter of better internet connectivity in the area. Certainly the service has deteriorated over the past few weeks and publishing this newsletter has become a nightmare at times. In fact we missed our 7:45 deadline yesterday, the first time in 4 months simply because we could not secure a stable connection. Now imagine those who rely on their internet connection to conduct everyday business. And the holidaymakers haven’t even arrived yet to put more strain on the network.

Here is an update on the Vodacom Towers sent to us by Rod Suter. Thanks Rod, much appreciated.

Further to the previous update on 4 November, the current status of the proposed erection of three new Vodacom masts in SFB :

  • Our DA​ Ward Representative, Ben Rheeder, has now held the meeting to discuss the matter with the Municipal Manager. It was established that all work by Vodacom on these towers was halted, and this decision has been confirmed in writing.
  • Vodacom have now withdrawn their proposal for the mast in Esmaralda Road, and are actively looking for an alternative location.
  • However, Vodacom wish to proceed as soon as possible with the other two locations (Cove, Shore Road and cnr. St Francis Drive/Neville Road).
  • Their objective is to install the masts prior to the holiday season.
  • They are holding discussions with the Municipality to expedite approval and have commenced advertising for objections
  • These masts appear to have morphed into temporary “Lamp Posts”, 15 m high.
  • The Vodacom proposals for the Cove, Shore Road and cnr. St Francis Drive/Neville Road sites have received the support of both the DA Ward Committee and the St Francis Bay Residents Association Committee.

Good turnout at St Francis Residents Association meeting.

An almost full house heard Wayne Furphy and Chris Gray layout a 5-year plan for St Francis Bay in the conference centre at St Francis Links last evening. A more detailed report will follow in Monday’s newsletter once the report has been studied but from the gatherings reaction it seems their plan was generally well received as at least a step in the right direction.

That these two gentlemen have been extremely proactive in their efforts to draw up a potentially workable plan to ‘save St Francis Bay’ having already consulted with big business in our financial capital as well as researching basic costs of what the various remedies will cost. The money necessary to carry out the reparations will certainly have to come in part from the residents themselves for surely the Kouga Municipality just do not have the funds but how this could be done was dealt with in detail along with why it is so essential for homeowners to participate or suffer very real consequence.

A comment by Furphy that we should consider St Francis Bay as a private estate and declare it a Self-Improvement District (SID) was most interesting. Citing how similar action taken by the residents of Sea Point, Cape Town some years ago turned Sea Point from a decaying suburb into a thriving community illustrated that it is possible to turn the fortunes of St Francis Bay around. He continued that if the plan is implemented, it is possible to raise some R200 million over the next five years. Certainly taking the facts and concepts proffered, it seems feasible and achievable providing the homeowners buy into the plan.

In discussing the “private estate” concept Furphy mentioned the area from the “Kromme to the Lighthouse”. Apparently the Cape St Francis Residents Association have been briefed on the St Francis Bay plan and possibly they too need to look at ways to participate. The commercial wellbeing of St Francis Bay has a direct influence of the residents of Cape St Francis and whilst it is accepted that there exists two separate resident associations, an attitude of “we are all in this together” should possibly be adopted rather than the” big brother” assuming control.

On a lighter note, Chris Gray related a story of how, whilst measuring the road distances on his motorcycle he set off early one morning sans his helmet which had proven to be a problem for whenever he stopped to record data as he had to remove the helmet, make notes and then don it again to continue. As “Murphy’s Law” would have it, a solitary traffic officer doing duty in St Francis Bay stopped Chris and wanted to fine him R500 for not wearing his helmet. Managing to convince the officer not to fine him they reached a compromise that as punishment Chris was to walk all the way home. On arriving home he then had to face the wrath of his wife for “what! you were riding without a helmet”? No doubt the walk home was the lesser punishment.

A well put together presentation that certainly offers some positive ways of improving the infrastructure. Until Monday …..

Chris Gray and Wayne Murphy

Chris Gray (left) and Wayne Murphy