Riparian committee chairman’s feedback on the St Francis Bay Canals
Below is and edited report of an address by Riparian chairman Simon Picton-Turbervill on the St Francis Bay canals presented to the Riparian Home Owners association AGM last week. The full, unedited report can be read on the Riparian website.
Mid way through the year Norman Dyer of the Kromme River committee negotiated an agreement with Kouga to manage the river using funds from the sale of river licences. Through Louis Fouche we continue to work closely with the river committee and wherever possible pool our resources.
The agreement now opens up the possibility of future dredging in the river to clear channels for safer boating.
The river committee together with the assistance from John Robson and James Jooste have realigned many of the buoys in the river and added additional buoys to assist with navigation, however caution must be exercised when on the river as it is very silted up particularly along the lower reaches.
I would also like to point out that there is no skiing or towing allowed on the river between the river mouth and the start of the ski zone above River Tides as shown on the map which was issued with each boat licence.
Jet skis are also not permitted on the river and must be used responsibly when going out through the river mouth.
Our boat fleet consisting of 4 utility boats and a law enforcement boat was upgraded during the year to give a uniform identity.
The Fire boat which is based at the Canal harbour has also been upgraded and will be operated by a volunteer fire crew if and when required.
Under special projects we have
- upgraded the harbour car park and improved the landscaping around the harbour
- we have improved the area around the cove and had the ablution block upgraded including a new conservancy tank to prevent spillages
- we have extended the canal harbour office to provide space for the ever increasing administration functions and, for the convenience of our clients,
- we now accept credit and debit card payments for licences and moorings.
- For the improved cleanliness of our beaches and public open spaces we have installed three bag dispensers for collection of dog faeces, so please encourage all dog owners to use them.
At the beginning of the year we embarked on the implementation of Health, Safety and Environmental policies in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and I am pleased to report that we were fully compliant by the middle of the year with no incidents reported year to date.
Building on the safety aspect we have improved signage around the canals and you will notice that all bridges have signs requesting people not the jump from the bridges as this is an accident waiting to happen.
From a health aspect we have used the University of Port Elizabeth to test the canal water on a regular basis for harmful ecoli and have found that the canals are well within the target water quality range.
In the one or two areas that were out of specification due to spillages we found that the water was clean again after the second high tides.
Unfortunately we have only been allocated one Law enforcement officer this season by Kouga Municipality so to provide adequate coverage we will be using one of our employees to assist with law enforcement.
During the season our other employees will be used around the canals for maintaining the gardens, cleaning the ablutions and control of the harbour boom and car park etc.
Some boating statistics and general information
In the 2016 financial year we issued 1,201 canal licences which was 4% up on the previous year and made up from
- 78% for boats with outboard board motors
- 7% for jet boats
- 14% for jet skis
As of the 14th December this year Canal licence issues were 3% up on the same time last year.It is also encouraging to note that annual mooring bookings are up by 13% which means that we are getting a better yield from the harbours.The harbour office is open 7 days a week during the season and any general or law enforcement queries should be routed to the harbour office from where they will be redirected to the relevant authority. The number is 0636964906 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You will also notice that the Ski canal jetties now have one bay reserved for the drop off and pick up of visitors to the beach by water taxi or cruise boat.
Finally the management of the canals is not just handled in 10 committee meetings a year but by daily hands on involvement from all the directors.
In addition each Monday at 3pm William Lotter is available at the canal harbour office to discuss work in progress with any of the committee members and to resolve issues that may arise.
If anyone is interested or has an issue they would like attended to you are encouraged to attend one of the Monday meetings.
To read the full report go the http://stfrancisbaycanals.com/