Should Cape St Francis join SRA

Reader feels CSF property owners should make that decision

An interesting comment from a Cape St Francis property owner appears to reject CSF Civics decision to not join the St Francis SRA. Citing that three quarters of CSF home owners do not belong to the Civic association, the reader suggests that whilst CSF do not feel the neglect YET, there is nothing preventing non-civic members to join and thus improve services they would benefit from if the SRA is adopted.

It would be interesting to get comment from Cape St Francis residents for after all many who live in CSF rely on St Francis Bay for their livelihoods and as such the demise of St Francis Bay could seriously influence not only their futures but also their property values. There is no argument that St Francis Bay is the economic hub of the greater St Francis. Certainly CSF residents could use Humansdorp  and Jeffreys Bay for their shopping, banking and medical needs but without available work some, even if only a small minority,  would no doubt be forced to move to a less tranquil lifestyle than they enjoy at the almost southern tip of Africa.

Were the SRA go ahead with CSF participating there would need to be some form of guarantee that certainly  portion f the special rates paid by CSF would be ring-fenced for improvements to Cape St Francis. One would believe that the SRA committee would be more than open to negotiating an equitable arrangement to ensure CSF gets their fair share.

Read readers comment below

Less than a quarter of CSF property owners are members of the CSF Civic Association. Therefore the other three-quarters may reject the decision. It is a massive task to encourage owners to support the Civics. There is no one that prevents someone to encourage owners (1 quarter Civic members and 3 quarters non-members) to participate in the SRA initiative. Good luck. Maybe the Cape St Francis owners do not feel the neglect of the suburb as intensely as the St Francis owners, yet?

Kromme River – A busy season

Kromme river enjoyed a busy season

“The season has come and gone, it has been a bumper season in all respects and in particular as far as the Kromme River is concerned taking into account the large number of river permits sold. The river was very busy and well used particularly at high tide. Fortunately there were no serious incidents or injuries reported. The major contributing factors certainly were the very efficient river patrol that was in place, the buoys that were positioned from the river mouth all the way up past River Tides to clearly indicate the navigable channel and also the additional signage that was installed in places from the river mouth to the start of the Ski Zone past River Tides.

Minor problems which occurred were people still skiing and tubing from the river mouth to the bridge on occasion which is no longer a Ski Zone due to the narrow and shallow navigable channel in this section of the river. There were also a few instances where people did not follow the path of the buoys and got stuck on a sand bank. A few complaints were received about jetskis doing freestyling in the river mouth and even going beyond the signs at the mouth which indicate “NO JETSKIS”. Due to the fact that reimbursement of the river permit fees to the KJRC was only received from Kouga Municipality towards the middle of November 2016, there was not sufficient time to do and complete what was planned before the start of the season. These matters were discussed at the recent meeting of the Kromme Joint River Committee (KJRC) and will be attended to. However, the initiatives implemented nevertheless assisted in making the river safer for the boating fraternity.

It is the intention to install additional and more prominent signage in certain places and also to increase the number of buoys indicating the navigable channel in certain areas. Furthermore, an additional patrol officer is to be employed during peak holiday periods to ensure at least a 12 hour a day presence on the river especially when high tide happens to be late in the afternoon.

Lastly the Kromme River Joint Committee wish to express its gratitude and thanks to each and every one that has helped and contributed, the River Tides community in particular, to making it such a successful holiday season for users of the Kromme River.”

 

Bowls Club Champion

St Francis Bay Bowling Club Champion of Champions

St Francis Bay Bowling Club champions for 2017

Merry Haring (right) the new Club Champion of the St Francis Bay Bowling Club who beat Graham Allison to claim the title. Picture: Pam Stark

The winner of the Ladies St Francis Bay Bowling Club Championship plays against the winner of the Men’s St Francis Bay Bowling Club Championship for the Champion of Champions Competition to determine the Club Champion.

The final of the Men’s competition was played between John Poole and Graham Allison with the latter emerging as the winner.

Marijke Kotze and Merry Haring battled it out in the ladies’ event with Merry claiming victory.

The battle for the Champion of Champions was finally played between Merry and Graham Allison. Merry won and is now Bowling Club Champion of Champions.

Article by Yvonne Bosman

Personal Trust Sponsored Bowls Tournament

Members of the St Francis Bay Bowling Club played the Personal Trust Sponsored Bowls Tournament on Wednesday, 25 January. Each team of four played two matches of eleven ends against different opponents and enjoyed a good afternoon of competitive bowls. Johan van der Westhuizen, who represents Personal Trust and usually joins in the fun and presents the prizes, was unable to attend the event on this occasion so Peter Talbot, Club President, did the honours announcing the winners and presenting the prizes. The winners were Nigel Forbes, Antoinette Rust, Keith Chapman and Pam Stark. After the prize giving everyone enjoyed a sociable get-together with drinks and a fish nugget and chips evening.

Personal Trust Sponsored Bowls Tournament

Winners of the Personal Trust Sponsored Bowls Tournament: (l to r) Nigel Forbes, Antoinette Rust, Keith Chapman and Pam Stark

Article & Photo – Yvonee Bosman  

SRA Q&A’s

Some SRA Q&A’s

In answer to some of the questions raised by e-mail and on comments on posts, St Francis Property Owners responded to questions submitted to them by St Francis Today.

SRA Q&A’s

Does Cape St Francis form part of the overall vote or is CSF regarded as a separate entity and will be included only if 50% of CSF property owners vote yes? At a meeting in PE the audience was informed that Cape St Francis had “opted out”. How will funds be split if Cape St Francis is involved…and this all goes ahead.

CSF is not part of the SRA. The CSF Civics Association declined to be part of this a year ago.

There a number of CSF property owners who have questioned this and feel that a broader base of CSF property owners need to be consulted.

When and how is Sea Vista going to benefit?

Sea Vista is excluded from the SRA, as the upliftment of all underprivileged areas are the specific responsibility of the Municipality and the Human Settlements Dept. One of the key objectives to developing the St Francis Vision 2030 was to define how we could assist with the upliftment of Sea Vista, including access to CSI spend and job creation. Please read the St Francis Vision 2030 document (available on the following website : www.stfrancispropertyowners.co.za).

At what stage into the scheme – if it goes ahead – will roads/streets/ storm water drains/ main sewerage be tackled or is it really all about the beach/spit and canals and the 550 canal properties

The top priority is arterial roads (10kms) and storm water drains (R31m). Parallel to this we have to complete the design phase of our river, beach and spit solution, and submit this to DEDEAT (Dept of Enviromental Affairs) to approve the project (this is expense will be about R1m and will probably be funded out of the donations we have received). This initial phase of work for the river is expected to take 12-18 months before any work can actually start on moving sand from the river to the spit and beach. The Security cameras are also a priority given the escalation in crime recently. The Water Borne Sewerage (R106m) and Street paving (R67m) projects are longer term priorities, like the River/Spit/Beach (R133) because this is where the bulk of the costs lie and we will rely on the levy to fund these as we receive the money. The cost of de-silting the River and depositing it on the beach and Spit will cost about R119m, and the groynes for keeping the sand on beach (R15m). The Spit is the smallest part of the whole cost as it is only about one-third the length of the entire beach from Main Beach to the River mouth. People keep saying that this SRA is of sole benefit to the Canals. This is simply not true. The Canal property owners already pay a levy of R212 per month to maintain the canals. We are submitting an application to DEDEAT to allow the Riparians to use their dredger to also maintain the Spit. Nobody else pays for maintenance of the Canals. The Riparians have an agreement similar to the SRA already in place for the past 4 years to get this levy paid to them by the Municipality to maintain the canals. Look how well it has worked! The Sra is no different, but because it is a new levy we have to use the SRA legislation to do it.

How is every single home/erf owner going to be reached – some simply do not ‘do’ the various media related options.  A flyer with the Rates/Water/Electricity account  ?

We are using a number of different communication channels including public meetings, one-on-one meetings with people, email, WhatsApp, Facebook, Call Centre (phoning), Private Estate Body Corporate communication channels and monthly bills, and public media ie St Francis Today and The Chronicle.

Do you have any information about the impact of suggested sand handling at the spit on the configuration of the surf spots ?

Since surfing is one of the attractions of St Francis Bay, this is probably a parameter to account with We are not using offshore reefs, but instead Groynes, so we don’t expect to disturb surfing spots.

The Beach solution design team have to investigate all impact as part f the EIA submission to DEDEAT. To make this procedure legitimate, legal and transparent surely ALL ratepayers in St Francis Bay should receive a voting form attached to their monthly rates and utilities bill. This should include ALL relevant voting details and dates as well as the full proposed costs of having a special rates area operating in the area.

The Kouga Municipality asked the SFPO Association to bring them consent forms (hardcopy) proving that a majority of property owners support the SRA levy before they will approve our SRA application. This process is legal and confirmed by a legal team we asked to verify our process. This is very simple and transparent. These consent forms are available for inspection at our SFPO offices.

If we cannot get the majority then the SRA proposal will be abandoned, the Committee will resign, what is left of the donations repaid, and the SFPO NPC liquidated.

If not SRA then what?

If not a Special Rates Area, then what?

Following numerous questions from readers regarding the SRA, St Francis Today submitted some of the more pertinent questions to St Francis Property Owners committee to which they have responded in detail. READ SRA Q&A

Most concerning is their comment in the final paragraph of that Q&A post. Looking back to a meeting of St Francis Bay Residents Association held way back in October 2015 at St Francis Bay Golf Club, Nigel Aitken, and then chairman of the Residents association appealed to the younger St Francis community to take the baton and breathe some fresh ideas into the association. At that time Chris Gray, now one of the founder members of what is now the Saving St Francis committee member, was the first to rise to the challenge and along with Wayne Furphy, started the ball rolling by analysing each aspect of the failing infrastructure of St Francis, not only of the Bay area but rather St Francis as a whole.

These two gentleman were joined by equally accomplished and successful business leaders who have spent not only many hours of their time but also funded much of the work done to date on developing a workable plan to ‘Save St Francis’. None who have followed the development of ideas since the new committee can deny that they have accurately assessed, with the help of consultants, the declining fortunes of St Francis and come up with a workable solution to the failing infrastructure.

The Kouga municipality has made it quite clear they are unable to finance what needs to be done, even when a new budget is put into place in July this year. It is an incontestable reality that the poor will get the biggest slice of the cake whether one feels it is fair or not. That is the way it is all over our country and the previously advantage must ‘lump it or leave’.

So if the money isn’t generated by the local community, where is it going to come from?

As said in previous posts on St Francis Today, there has not been a single suggestion yet on an alternative. There certainly have been many criticisms on what the Saving St Francis committee has suggested as a way of arresting the decay but not one on a working alternative.

And so back to that final statement in the Q&A post.

That the committee will resign if the SRA is a rejected! This leaves us with a huge question. Who will step into these committed gentlemen’s shoes? Are there other experienced and successful business leaders who could be approached to take over? Methinks not, for those remaining experienced business folk would no doubt have voted YES to the proposal and as such would realise that any future efforts would be futile and a waste of their time and money.