All the action at the Nautical Festival

The Nautical Festival is not to be missed!

Lyn Aitken

It’s that time of year again when St Francis residents and visitors alike celebrate all things nautical with the annual Nautical Festival held at Port St Francis from the evening of Friday April 29th through to Sunday 1st May. This is a not-to-be-missed weekend of fun and entertainment for the whole family literally offering something for everyone.

Nautical festival team spokesperson Janet Harrison said, “Our committee, the Port St Francis Owner’s Association and St Francis Tourism have gone to every length to ensure that every facility and amenity is available to provide our festival goers with a wonderful experience. There is literally something for everyone and we are encouraging our entire community to participate in the spirit of the nautical theme with all sorts of prizes available for innovative ideas.”

The festival will get into full swing from Friday evening with the spectacular chokka boat light display at sunset when at least twenty boats will light up the whole harbour. The official opening ceremony will take place 10 a.m. on April 30th with a flag parade by the TS Kromme Sea Cadets and finishing with a SANCCOB penguin release from the Harbour. On display will be photography, quilts and other arts and crafts, beautiful model boats and  even an educational  live shark tank on the square! And if Crafters’ market stalls at the Port will offer irresistible mementoes, gifts and keepsakes.

Plenty of refreshment will be on hand at the various restaurants, bars and tea gardens. Throughout the weekend DJ Shane Barnes, live music and Billy’s Bar will be in full swing at the Port. The proceeds from the tea garden at the Port are in aid of the SPCA this year so well worth supporting!

Pre festival events include the Harbour Master’s Port clean-up on Wednesday 27th from 9 until 4 p.m. This is open to all divers, scuba and snorkel, both individuals and clubs. The idea is to get as many divers as possible into the water to start cleaning up underwater. This is a great community project with super prizes to be won.

The children will not want to miss the SANCCOB Kiddies’ Festival on Thursday 28th from 3 to 7 p.m. at SANCCOB Rehabilitation Centre in Cape St Francis which is to be followed by an outdoor movie night showing “Surf’s Up”

“We are very excited to be including  inflatable zip-line, obstacle course and sumo suits this year,” added Harrison. “Another new event aimed at our pet lovers is a dog walk from the Port in aid of SPCA on Sunday morning. Participants are asked to bring a bag of dog food, dog blanket or collars in lieu of an entry fee.”

“Sportsmen and women will have a number of events to choose from including the annual Rotary Makro Golf Festival played over two days on both the St Francis Bay Golf Course and the prestigious St Francis Links. Also on offer are bowls, tennis and volley ball at Quayside. We are really thrilled that the whole St Francis community has thrown its support behind the Festival this year.”

To further whet visitor’s appetites, the energetic can kick off the weekend with a 5km Park Run on Saturday morning at the Links and take in the Colour Run on Sunday morning at the Port in aid of the SANCCOB.

Keen anglers will not want to miss the St Francis Festival Fishing Challenge hosted jointly by the St Francis Rod, Reel & Boat Club and the St Francis Boat and Angling Club where anglers will compete for fantastic prizes for the largest Edible Fish (game and bottom fish) and the Largest Weighed Fish for both Adults and Juniors under 16. Entry is free and registration takes place on Friday 29th April. Call Tim Christy to register on 082-569-3750.

For those looking for gentler pursuits try a canal or sea cruise, browse the Village market on Saturday morning, or take in one of the super music events at the Port, Christy’s Catch in the village and the new Rock Lily in Cape St Francis.

“This is a very long holiday weekend so book your accommodation now to avoid disappointment and look out for specials on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to pack your nautical look attire!” continued Harrison.

There is still time to book market stalls at the Port over the weekend – e-mail info@balobi.co.za for more information. Music buskers are welcome too and should call Bridget Rogers on 072 386 0259 to secure a spot.

Follow our Facebook Page(www.facebook.com/nauticalcapitalfestival) for the full programme and all registration or booking information. Or call St Francis Tourism 042 294 0076 – accomodation@stfrancistourism.co.za

Is this construction really acceptable

Recent construction of what appears to be a retaining boundary wall on a plot on the corner of Borrie and St Francis Dive in Santareme has been attracting attention and comment on social media. Whether this construction has approved plans seems to be in question as the municipality says not. But even if plans have been approved, judging by the look of the construction one must question if it is in line with the general aesthetics of the area. There must be certain ‘standards’ in St Francis Bay as there are in most formal residential areas in South Africa and if not, these certainly need to introduced if St Francis Bay is not to start resembling an informal settlement.

But the construction aside, it appears that a mini squatter camp has also been established on the plot with two workers having taken up residence in makeshift huts. With no toilets or showers provided where do they carry out their ablutions or do they just use the bush? More concerning is how long will it take  before others looking to build shacks in the area take to seize on an opportunity. We have all witnessed how quickly these shack towns can spring up and how difficult it is to have them demolished once they establish themselves. For the sake of the home owners in the area whose objections seem to have fallen on deaf ears, let’s see if the municipality take any action in the coming weeks to either confirm to the surrounding home owners that the construction is quite legitimate or stop construction if it is not.

South Africans have a propensity for breaking laws particularly when it comes to building regulations. Some may recall a bunch of houses being demolished on the Wild Coast last year (http://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/wild-coast-cottages-destroyed/) when the Green Scorpions stepped in. So even in remote areas of the Wild Coast they take a dim view of people simply erecting structures without permission.

If the unsightly construction does have approval of the municipality then possibly the requirements of what is allowed and what is not should be re-visited. Whilst building regulations do at times frustrate development they are necessary to protect the investments of others. That there are sometimes unnecessarily long delays in getting plans approved certainly doesn’t help matters but even so this does not give anyone the right to simply go ahead and build even a boundary wall.

Disaster Management & Rapid Response on track

Disaster and Rapid Response Plan for St Francis

Photo courtesy Shaun Tesslendorf

Photo courtesy Shaun Tessendorf

It was so encouraging to see that something is being actively put in motion with regard to formulating a disaster management plan. At a meeting held yesterday at St Francis Links yesterday, several key players from within St Francis community with representatives from various organisations including St Francis Bay Residents Association, Cape St Francis Civic Association, Sea Vista, FOSTER, NSRI, the Wind Farm, St Francis Links, Cape St Francis Resorts and the Airpark, amongst others attending.

Organised by Nigel Aitken the meeting was intended not to formulate a plan immediately but to identify the many aspects of managing a disaster that had to be considered. Once the analysis started it was surprising just how many facets there are that need to be addressed and sensibly St Francis Bay residents association chairman Wayne Furphy recorded comments and suggestions on a flip chart that will be condensed and distributed to the two sub-committees who are charged with the devising a  more detailed agenda of requirements. The two sub-committees are loosely made up one for greater St Francis Bay area and the other for Cape St Francis incorporating the Airpark, Rocky Farm and Rebelsrus. Once these reports are completed the intention is to invite other major players including Eskom who own a huge tract of land with the area as well as the municipality.

An important element of whatever plan is eventually decided on will need local community support and to this end volunteers will be needed. This support will not entail only looking for front line firefighters to don their fireproof clothing and rush in to blazing fires or rush into swirling flood waters for those tasks will be left to those properly trained personnel to deal with. It is in all the other aspects of management where the community can assist sin manning the command centre and working in thesupport teams for all the logistical requirements

And this is the purpose of what was started at yesterday’s meeting, to identify all these essential support processes that must be in place with volunteers properly versed in what has to done the moment disaster strikes.

One very important aspect emerged from the meeting was of whatever plan is eventually introduced it is that of training of all those who form part of the overall plan. Whatever the disaster it would take time, hours even days in some instances to get municipal, regional, provincial or if required, national assistance to the area and thus a rapid response plan must be in place until outside support arrives.

It is important to note that whatever management plan is finally put in place it is not intended to replace nor supplant whatever disaster management plan is put in place by the province or municipality but rather to augment that plan. It was plainly obvious during the January fires that all other bodies brought into combat a disaster were working blindly and it is thus imperative that in any future catastrophe that they are supported by our local organisations to guide them in their efforts.

The public will be regularly updated as the plan unfolds for it is essential that every resident of St Francis is aware of what processes are in place and St Francis Today looks forward to assisting in informing all readers as the plan develops. Disaster can strike at any time and recent events in both Japan and Ecuador are prime examples. According to the  EIA report on Thuyspunt earthquakes are unlikely in our part of the world but that is not to say other natural or unnatural disasters cannot beset us.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The disaster management meeting held at Cape St Francis Resort last Friday referred to in our article “Fire hazard ignored by disaster management planners” was a regional meeting organised by Sarah Baartman district and not part of the above which is a totally separate local initiative.

Give Quaysyde a break

Quaysyde Restaurant - St Francis Bay CanalsThere is nothing quite like sitting on the banks of the canals with a cold beer or glass of wine on an early autumn evening even though it seems winter has come a little earlier this year. Something about watching water calms the soul and the passing paddlers and occasional boat chugging by makes the view all the more interesting. Those with homes get to enjoy this regularly and even those with family or friends who live on the canals, get to experience the enjoyment occasionally.

But what of those who live in the village, Air Park, Santareme or Cape St Francis who don’t have family or friends to visit. Until recently they could only enjoy the experience by dining at Big Time Taverna or Caffe Bijoux.  The opening of Quaysyde Restaurant on Sea Glades Drive changed all that and at last there is an eatery right on the water where patrons can dine , or simply take in the ambience of the canals, enjoying their sundowner close to the water. Only one problem with that though, Quaysyde is still fighting to get a liquor license. Some will argue this is a benefit as their drinks are cheaper this way but ‘schlepping’ a cooler box around with you really is not the way to go unless you are taking in the sunset at Sunset Rock.

So why doesn’t Quaysyde get a license? Well it seems there are a few selfish property owners on the canals are fighting tooth and nail, no expense spared, to prevent this happening. It is likely that these property owners don’t actually live on the canals but rather visit their homes for just a few weeks a year and then probably at the height of the summer season. If their objections are because they feel Quaysyde will create a noise hazard with noisy revellers partying until late into the night surely the noisy boats, often filled with youngsters playing loud music, screaming and singing and almost a daily occurrence over the season should also then be banned so these owners can have peace and solitude.

If noise is their major concern maybe they should rethink their objection. Quaysyde is a pretty upmarket facility and one would think a little out of the price range of those who habituate pubs to see how many shooters they can down in as short a time as possible. Then they should consider that a liquor license allows the facility to control distribution of liquor. If patrons start to get drunk and unruly they can be refused service and would soon leave the premises. Without a license diners can bring their own liquor and if they get unruly can be asked to leave but if they still have half a bottle of ‘Klippies’ or a carry pack of beers to consume, it would take a very brave waitron to force them to out without more than a little unpleasantness.

Quite honestly whatever the objections to granting a liquor license to Quaysyde, it simply doesn’t make sense. One can be pretty sure that the owners of Quaysyde want to retain it as an upmarket facility so that they can charge top dollar for a unique dining experience. A facility that is right on the water has been needed for a long time and really has many benefits. Visitors to St Francis dining at Quaysyde will experience how great these canals are and who knows, may make a decision to buy a house on the canals because of the experience. The facility will also create much needed employment for a few and those who don’t live on the canals will be able to enjoy what some take for granted.

So to those selfish few who believe they can deprive both locals and visitors of a great canal experience maybe they should go and rethink their objections. Rather than fight the granting of a liquor license they should funnel the money they spending in the courts into the “Saving St Francis” fund where their money can do some good

This VW ad is a hit

For those who haven’t seen it …

If you haven’t yet seen it this excellent VW video features two local personalities. See if you recognise them… we are sure you will. And be sure to scll down and read more about getting a new caddy.

For more information on the VW Caddy click on logo below

Dirk Ellis VW