Not those potholes again!

Interesting article appeared in the EP Herald on Friday where the Jeffreys Bay community is taking the repair to their roads into their own hands. It seems, like St Francis they are fed up with the lack of will by the Kouga Municipality to do anything about the potholes so after negotiations with the municipality they reached agreement where KM would supply the material and local residents the manpower.

Last Monday St Francis Today featured the second half of our Personality of the Month,  St Francis Bay Residents Nigel and Lynette Aitken. During our interview Nigel explained that he ended up on the St Francis Bay Residents Association because of his concern with the deteriorating condition of the St Francis Bay Roads when he returned to the area some five years ago. His suggested solution at the time was exactly what the folks of Jeffreys Bay and Paradise Beach are now putting into practice.

Now we know many of the St Francis Bay Residents are retired and thus to expect them to man a vibrating compactor would be truly unreasonable particularly if they have had a few modifications made to their skeletal or arterial make up. More than a few arterial stents would be repositioned to say nothing of hip and knee replacements which would end up scattered amongst the tar. But there are more than a few young ‘uns that could be roped in and it really could be made into a festive occasion with the more mature residents setting up food and drink (non-alcoholic – there’s work to be done) at the roadside where work is being carried out.

But there is also another labour force just waiting to be harnessed and here is where those who can’t can. Sea Vista has hordes of young and not so young, unemployed men and women who could, with a little financial motivation and a bit of training and management, be employed to assist. A small donation in lieu of their time by those who can’t because of health and age could be used to pay this labour force and a ‘soup kitchen’ could be set up by locals to give them a good meal at the end of the day.

And it could have a greater long term advantages in that by training these youngsters in road repair one of them may have an entrepreneurial spirit and with a ready trained work force could set up a business that could eventually take over all the ongoing road maintenance in the area into the future. Nothing is impossible and if such an individual were to surface there would certainly be chance their securing funding to grow such a business, both from the community and from the provincial government or other sources.

Maybe it is something the St Francis Bay Residents Association cold look at more formerly going forward and start negotiations with the municipality for if we don’t do it for ourselves the KM certainly won’t.

Kromme, Beach and Spit

The Kromme River, Beach and Spit are back in the news again with a letter from the Kromme Joint River Committee , a document compiled by Frank Silberbauer Consultants, and a graphic of the channels on the river attached below.

Most accept the need for environmental assessment before any interference with ecologically sensitive areas and there is little doubt that the Kromme estuary is a sensitive subject not only from an ecological point of view but also an emotional one for the residents and holiday makers who enjoy all that this wonderful stretch of water offers. Equally emotive is the future of the beach and to canal dwellers, the spit.

Surely many of the problems that exist in this area have been caused by man and thus will require human intervention to fix. Before dams were constructed up river, rainfall such as we have experienced over the past months would have flushed the river mouth quite naturally opening up the sand banks. Not an eyebrow would have been raised back then at this natural phenomenon which regularly flushed the river mouth encouraging new growth and opened up channels within the river.

All that would have been washed out of the river mouth into the sea, including sand and river life is surely no longer washed out to the same extent so does this not have a bearing on the state of the river, the spit and the beach? Would dredging the river and pumping the sand into the sea not in a way be replicating what nature did for thousands of years before man built the dams to stop the natural cleansing of the river? And because the river is in a way no longer being “cleansed” on a regular basis, does this not have an effect on the health of the river?

Just a thought!

Anyway we are sure, or rather hope, the consultants will spend our money wisely and come up with a solution that will protect not only the ecology but also the economy of the region which is so reliant on the attraction.

As far as the Kouga Municipality not redirecting the funds generated by the river permit fees to the Kromme Joint River Committee (KJRC) maybe it is time for a little civil disobedience as happens in other parts of the country. Possibly the permit fees should be paid into a trust account and held from the KM until they are prepared to accept that the river can be better managed by those who understand what it is needed rather than a bunch of suits with fat salaries and even fatter girths who have probably never ventured onto the river.

Correspondence from Kromme Joint River Committee

Kromme Joint River Trust
December 2015.                    

The current conditions conducive to safe boating, skiing, tubing, windsurfing, kite boarding, etc. on the Kromme River, particularly the lower reaches, are no longer possible.

Firstly, every year, more and more craft make use of the river, particularly during holiday periods.

Secondly, silt continues to build up in the lower reaches of the Kromme River due to numerous reasons. The result is that the navigable channels have become very narrow and shallow. Dredging is and WILL NOT be permitted by the DEDEA under any circumstances until a full EIA has been conducted, submitted, and accepted – it is intended that this be incorporated in phase 2 of the “Save the Beach” initiative as a possible source of sand that will be required. This EIA process is due to commence in 2016.

DEDEA have acknowledged that, although this should be the responsibility of the Kouga Municipality (KM), they have neither the will, skill nor finance to do so.

Phase1 of the “Save the Beach” initiative is in progress, please see the attachment hereto setting out the current status as provided by Frank Silberbauer Consulting.

What must be remembered, as was the case with phase1, phase 2 might well have to be funded by private means i.e. residents/home owners/business, etc.

Thirdly, our appeal to KM regarding redirecting the funds generated by the river permit fees to the Kromme Joint River Committee (KJRC) in order that they be used for the purpose intended i.e. efficient and effective management of the Kromme River – patrol, signage, buoys, bait collection, etc. has thus far not been successful.

Notwithstanding numerous meetings with the Municipal Manager and senior personnel, letters to the Mayor, Councillor intervention/assistance this ‘accepted in principle’ serious offer to assist the KM is prevented by the ANC block from progressing through the correct channels for consideration by Council!

Regretfully, to date, all that has been forthcoming from the KM is, we are told, that they intend appointing two patrol officers, not three as was the case last year, one of whom will more than likely not have a skipper’s licence. As was the case last year, this may again, necessitate the St Francis Bay Riparian Homeowners Association (SFBRHOA) to, at own cost, arrange and pay for this person to obtain a skippers licence. This is even though the KM have no operative patrol boat as same has been awaiting repair for over eighteen months and they unashamedly just ‘expect’ to make use of the privately owned KJRC boat? At their last meeting in November 2015, the SFBRHOA decided to appoint a third patrol officer, at own cost, to assist with patrols on the canals and Kromme River during the December/January holiday period.

Thanks to funding by the St Francis Bay Residents Association (SFBRA) and the SFBRHOA, additional buoys will be purchased and placed in the Kromme River to indicate the best navigable channel options. To those who have offered to assist in the physical positioning of same, from both the SFBRHOA and the KJRC, a very big thank you is recorded.

It is to be noted that due to time and cost constraints, these buoys will not be marine compliable i.e. red and green but the map, attached hereto which will be distributed with the river permits, clearly indicates that “all buoys are a general indication – use at your own risk”. Thank you again to the SFBRA for covering the cost of printing the maps.

We hope this helps to explain the predicament that exists and some insight to the frustrations the KJRC is faced with in dealing with a dysfunctional ANC controlled Council/Municipality.

Safe boating, please travel with reduced speed and extreme caution.

Kromme Joint River Committee.

CONSTITUENT MEMBERS

(Alphabetical + Correct Names) Geelhout Conservancy, Goedgeloof Properties, Kromme River Angling Club,   Kromme River Mouth Shareblock, Kromme Properties, St Francis Riparian Homeowners Association, St Francis Kromme Trust, St Francis Residents Association, Riverglades, Rivertides, Swan Island,

Read Frank Silbebauer Report (click below)

Frank Silberbauer Report

Map-Kromme-River---13-11-15

Printable Version of Kromme River Map