Save water

Are you making an effort to save water and if so, HOW?

The Kouga save water campaign should be taken seriously! Cape Town’s water crisis has seen it recently declared a disaster and although the Nelson Mandela Bay water system from which Kouga draws its water is not quite as serious as in the Western Cape, the chart at the bottom of this post does not bode well if the falling levels continue at the same rate as in the past year.

According to the Department of Water & Sanitation the Algoa Water Supply System is at 39.6% compared to 78.2% at this time of the year in 2016. These dams include: Impofu – 65.7%, Kouga – 23%, Loerie – 44.8% and Groendal – 56.2%

Our largest dam, Kouga has seen the most significant decrease falling from around 70% a year ago to just 21% this month. Kouga dam is our main water source and it really is not that far off Western Cape levels so YES the situation is serious.

Impofu Dam - Nelson Mandela Bay water system

It really is up to us, every man, woman and child to take the threat of water shortages seriously and to do everything possible to conserve water. Consider life with an allocation of 100 litres a day, ask anyone in Cape Town how life changing this has become.

Several readers have called and e-mailed St Francis Today and drawn attention to unoccupied houses using sprinkler systems to water their gardens.  Domestic help has been spotted washing down windows and even washing cars with hose pipes. This truly is both irresponsible and inconsiderate and it is up to each of us to educate our staff as to just how serious the situation is.

Some homes could be using borehole or well water to keep their lawns green and their flowers blooming but there are those who are using precious drinking water and these have to be stopped. Home owners who do not reside in St Francis and only visit the area at weekends or over the holidays should be encouraged to maybe torn off their water mains when not is residence for even a leaking tap left for several months can use a significant amount of water. Lawns wil survive without regular watering and the odd shower that we are sure to experience in the coming months is certainly enough to sustain and keep them green.

How are you saving water?

Please share your water saving ideas in the COMMENTS below. Every drop does count!

Algoa River System State of Dams on 2017-05-29

# Means latest available data
FSC is full storage capacity in million cubic meters
Dam River Photo Indicators FSC This Week Last Week Last Year
Groendal Dam Swartkops River Photo Indicators 11.7 55.1 55.9 84.1
Impofu Dam Krom River Photo Indicators 105.8 64.4 64.9 86.9
Kouga Dam Kouga River Photo Indicators 126.0 21.1 22.1 69.6
Kromrivier Dam Krom River Photo Indicators 35.3 12.9 13.5 72.6
Loerie Dam Loeriespruit River Photo Indicators 3.1 54.8 47.1 41.8
Total 281.6 38.1 38.8 76.8

FOOTNOTE:

Need your car washed?

Rather than having your car washed at home with a hose, the car wash behind the second hand store on Assisi Drive, next to the petrol station is good alternative. They do a great cleaning job, inside and out and save you both water and electricity. They charge just R110 which considering how thorough they are, it is a good deal.

 

Expedition Port Elizabeth

The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth

The recent Expedition Africa was motivation to cross the Gamtoos River for the first time in over two years. The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth and quite frankly cities were too much part of life for so many years to find any joy other than visiting through necessity.

So having to travel for a very early medical appointment in Port Elizabeth last week saw me crossing the Gamtoos river for a second time in a week. Not wanting to add to the stress of a very early morning drive in the dark (old eyes don’t see too good in the dark) for what was already promising to be a stressful day, staying overnight in Port Elizabeth seemed the only sensible option. Certainly staying with a friend would have been preferred but inconsiderate so the choice was either a hotel or B&B.

Having become a ‘true St Franciscan’ supporting anything St Francis will always be uppermost when making decisions on where to shop, stay or dine so the decision was easy knowing that Cape St Francis Resort has in its stable, a B&B in Newington Road on Richmond Hill, aptly named Newington Place. Having lived in PE way when this area really was in rather bad repair and it was certainly a revelation to see how beautifully these historic, Victorian homes have been so lovingly restored.

Newington Place

Newington Place a beautifully restored Victorian Home

In the mid 70’s I purchased a settler cottage (circa 1864) in Ivy Street on the hill when it could only be described as a slum. A few pioneers’ snapped up these little cottages (I paid R8500 for a two bedroom with an outdoor toilet) and so the area was gradually upgraded. Being young and energetic I soon had the cottage restored into a rather quaint little ‘yuppie’ pad and yes it now had an indoor bathroom.

But back to Newington Place!  Set on a large (double) stand on the corner of Newington Road and Dickens Street with a huge garden to one side filled with leafy green trees and colourful bushes and certainly a bird paradise. At the rear of the house, well away from the road frontage is a lovely and sunny garden with a sparkling pool, a built in braai and el fresco bar for visitors to enjoy as well as a newly built deck overlooking the garden, a perfect spot to chill out after a long journey or day in the city.

Newington Place Pool

Newington Place private garden and pool, a perfect spot to ‘chill’

With five bedrooms in the main house, a self-catering cottage and another self-contained unit in the garden, Newington Place is certainly worth considering if you need to stay in the city the night or for a few days. All the rooms have garden views and most of the bedrooms have flat screen TV’s but the common area with its large comfy couch is a far more sociable place to ‘hang out’ and chat with fellow guests or watch TV. Wandering around the passages there are some interesting pictures including what appears to be the original deed of sale. There is no doubt that care has been taken to retain the house’s originality whilst installing modern conveniences.

Newington Place en-suie bedrooms with beautiful period furnishings

Richmond Hill has benefitted hugely from the SRA (yes that word that seems to scare a few locals) and no better example of this is Stanley Street which is a short drive or taxi ride from Newington Place. Rather reminiscent of Florida Road in Durban there is a wide choice of places to dine and I chose a nice little pub that was really reasonable with a good draught beer at a very reasonable price.

So if you have an early flight out of or a late flight into PE and don’t want to risk a drive in the dark or for whatever other the reason you may have to stay over in the city, staying over at Newington Place certainly is worth considering. Nothing in Port Elizabeth is said to be more that a 20 minute drive away and Newington Place is certainly even closer to most, particular the hospitals and some great dining choices.

Hands-on Cooking Experience

Brighten your winter with a “Hands-on Cooking Experience”

Winter in St Francis can be rather laid back. With late sunrises, early sunsets many don’t get to enjoy their early morning or evening beach walks. Even paddlers, canal swimmers and runners have to rush after work to get their exercise fix before dark. And of course the weather doesn’t always play its part either, the past weekend a example which even reduced the popular morning market to but all but a few diehard vendors.

Fortunately several of the hospitality purveyors come to our rescue with food & wine pairing dinners as hosted by Sarah at Dune Ridge and the beer spin off to these tastings at the St Francis Brewing Company. Then we have the occasional fund raiser events such as the “Els for Autism” event to be held at St Francis Links on 22nd June that was such a huge success last year.

But there is a new event on the calendar that will be held the last Thursday of each month from June through to November. Receiving a late invitation to the inaugural event last Thursday it promises to be a lot of fun and a novel way of dining out whilst learning a few cooking tips along the way. We speak of “Cooking with Mauro”, a concept devised by Anne of Baud’Au Health and Beauty in the Village and Mauro of Mauro’s Restaurant at Port St Francis.

At his the first event the gathered participants were given a lesson in making the perfect pizza. Now most of us enjoy the odd pizza but actually making one from scratch would never enter our minds for it is far easier to pick up a few to go as a family treat. Of course as an alternative one can always buy one of those pizza bases and concoct your own topping but these usually end up as soggy, unappetising renditions of the real thing. But as Mauro demonstrated to a group of enthusiastic participants at “Cooking with Mauro” last Thursday evening, it really is not that difficult.

Demonstrating step by step from mixing dough, kneading it to a perfect consistency and finally, rolling it out to a nigh perfect circle with the ideal thickness, edge and centre, Mauro guided the partakers through the process.

Of course a pizza without the topping is nothing more than a tasteless flat bread so next step was how to add the topping, most importantly the tomato paste. And it was here that you will need to attend a class on making this tomato paste for Mauro, although stressing the importance of the tomato, did not divulge the process or ingredients of making it. Surprising was how little cheese was added before the selection of other topping choices.

Demo done the group set about making their own pizza. Well not all managed to get the shape quite right first time out but all sat down to enjoy their creation and judging by the empty plates at the end of the evening, all were perfectly happy with what they created. A truly fun evening with a little wine and plenty of laughter! Certainly a great way to spend a winter’s evening.

The next “Cooking with Mauro” will be held at Mauro’s Restaurant on the 29th June starting at 5:30pm and this time participants will cook in the actual kitchen. If you would like to be part of this fun evening best you call Mauro and book for there is limited space available.

Some photos of the evening and the results.

Cooking with Mauro

Preparing to make pizza

Adding the pizza topping

The real deal pizza

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

 

Drama and Dance Festival

Audition for Drama and Dance Festival

Budding stage performers from Kouga will have an opportunity to put their talents to the test in auditions to be held for a major upcoming festival at Grahamstown.

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said auditions for the District Drama and Dance Festival would be held at the Humansdorp Country Club on Tuesday, 30 May, at 2pm.

The auditions are being held by the Sarah Baartman office of the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), in conjunction with the Dakawa Arts Centre.

She urged Kouga artists to make full use of the opportunity and to give the best of what they have.

 “Those who make it through will go on to showcase their talent at the District Drama and Dance Festival, to be held on 3 June in Grahamstown,” she said.

“Our area is abundantly rich with talent and it is time we shared that with the rest of the communities in our district, the province and even nationally,” she said.

For further information about the auditions and the festival, one can contact DSRAC’s Mphumezi Mesani on 046 603 4205/076 785 8805 or email mphumezi.mesani@ecsrac.gov.za.

Alternatively, contact Kouga Municipality Arts and Culture Officer Xolile Wagosa on 042 200 2219 or email xwagosa@kouga.gov.za.

Audition for Drama and Dance Festival  Budding stage performers from Kouga will have an

Roadworthy Centre Re-Opens

Municipality re-opens roadworthy centre in Humansdorp

More than two years after a flash flood shut down operations, the vehicle testing centre at Kouga Municipality in Humansdorp is up and running again.

The A-grade roadworthy centre at Humansdorp was re-opened this week by Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen and Social Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.

Mayor Van Lingen said the centre had been standing idle since March 2015 when the equipment was damaged in a flash flood.

“This meant that the public could no longer have their vehicles tested at the municipality but had to go to private centres, which often charged more,” she said. “It was a great blow for residents and business alike.”

Re-opening the centre was one of the first tasks the new Council set itself after the municipal elections in August last year.

“The municipality had been paid out by the insurance company more than a year prior, so there were funds available to replace the damaged equipment and re-open the centre,” the Mayor said.

“There were, however, administrative delays which were sorted out as a matter of urgency under the guidance of the new Council.”

She said the Council was very pleased that it could restore this service to the public.

Bookings for the municipality’s vehicle testing centre can be made and paid for at the Kouga Traffic Department in Heugh Street, Humansdorp.

As an A-grade facility, the centre can test vehicles and trailers of all makes and sizes. Tests take between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the vehicle.

Roadwothy Centre

Vehicle testing centre staffers (from left) Lourens Anker and Patrick Mgobo explain the ins and outs of the facility to Social Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson and Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen

Roadwothy Centre

Vehicle testing centre staffers (from left) Lourens Anker and Patrick Mgobo explain the ins and outs of the facility to Social Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson and Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen

Roadworthy Centre

Article from 1994 at the orinal opening of the Roadworthy Centre

Press Release – Laura-Leigh, Randall, Media Liaison Officer, Kouga Municipality