More Disabled Parking

More Disabled Parking needed in St Francis

Following on from yesterday’s post regarding road and parking improvements envisaged by St Francis Property Owners in the 2018 SRA proposal, there is one aspect of parking that shopping centre owners simply have to pay attention to and to do so without any delay. Last week I had occasion to meet a friend of mine and her daughter-in-law who have been visiting St Francis over the holidays. The daughter tragically had a horse riding accident some years ago that has left her wheel chair bound.

We initially agreed to meet at Pedal and Spoke but as I arrived early I did a reconnoitre of the parking only to find there was not a single spot to park anywhere in the vicinity of Pedal & Spoke, Rambling Rose or Christies. I quickly called my friend and recommended that we rather meet in the old village at Tails & Thyme. Thankfully two vehicles vacated parking bays almost directly outside ‘Tails’ almost as the friend and were able to park with plenty of room for the daughter to extricate and set up her wheelchair.

As adept as paraplegics are at setting up their wheelchairs and as much as they insist on being independent we still need to make life as easy as possible for the disabled.  Whilst wheelchairs can access ‘Tails’ from the car park opposite Kouga Print, possibly the owners could designate the two adjacent parking spots for disable parking only.  The owner could possibly also create a small ramp as the ground is uneven and a ramp would go a long way to making access a little easier.

It seems there are just two disable parking bays in the village, one outside the main entrance to SPAR and the other outside the Pharmacy, both of which are regularly abused by people who should know better.

It would be interesting to have shops, restaurants, coffee shops, B&B’s and guest houses make COMMENTS what the offer to make access and facilities more accessble by  paraplegics and the disabled. Tell us about you facilities and St Francis Today will create a page on our website where will happily give disable friendly businesses a free advert on that page.

 

 

Season almost over

Season almost over but time to start thinking about St Francis Bay’s future

Although the great exodus is particularly noticeable by the number of boats being towed in a direction away from the canals, both the village and Cape St Francis still remain pretty well populated with holidaymakers. With the schools starting far later this year it certainly has given us the benefit of an extended holiday season that will have benefitted the shops and hospitality businesses.

One of the biggest problems during the holidays is the congestion on our roads. It may be unavoidable and it  can be frustrating at times but no matter the frustration the rules of the road are still there to be obeyed. Of major concern and certainly something St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) has recognised is St Francis Drive itself. It is extremely narrow for a major thoroughfare and come holiday time both cyclists and pedestrian are cramped onto its narrow confines, constantly in danger of being knocked over by a speeding motorist. The speed limit is 50K but few seem to care and especially Kouga Traffic who are conspicuous by their absence, not only along St Francis Drive but around the village in general and it is a miracle that no one has been injured this year.

In SPFO Chairman Wayne Fyfie’s address to property owners at the Links on Wednesday 3rd January he highlighted plans for the road improvements in the new proposedSRA that has just been launched by SFPO. Although there will be insufficient  funds to totally widen and rebuild St Francis Drive, there are plans to construct a bicycle track / pedestrian walkway from Seaglades Drive on the canals running the entire length of St Francis drive although initially it should at least reach the CBD.  Also on the cards are plans to tidy up the parking areas from opposite the spar centre right through to the Blue Bottle bottle store. At the moment this is chaos in season and a little planning will go a long way to improving the entire area including pedestrian crossings and intersections. Bruce Brooker has submitted a rather natty drawing of an intersection (see below). Details of the new SRA proposal at the reduced rate of 25% can be viewed on the property owners proposal on the SFPO website.

The major intersections are also on the plans particularly the roads intersecting with St Francis Drive and Lyme Roads north & south.

Having scaled back the proposed SRA from the initial 50% proposed last year to the 15% in the new proposal and to a far smaller area of St Francis there will not be the funds to do all that was proposed last year but what is on the plans will certainly improve St Francis aesthetically and improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

It is thus interesting to read comments from readers that because they don’t live near the beach nor CBD within the demarcated area that is subject of the proposed SRA, that they should, as with Santareme, be excluded and not form part of the SRA.  SFPO has explained at length the reason for excluding the Santareme , Links and other areas but it seems some just cannot accept reality or they just have bothered to read the proposal. It truly is not a matter of gerrymandering but rather being realistic and practical.

That St Francis is losing its beach is FACT, ask any of our recent visitors. The beach, along with the spit, are an absolute priority and St Francis Bay cannot afford to lose  any more of the coastline to the sea. Possibly those who feel they should not contribute to the beach and spit could at least think about your contribution going towards the roads and the safety of others in the village.

Then again maybe they will start to worry when the sea eventually encroaches onto St Francis Drive destroying most of the golf course and having to shop in Spar wearing waders. Maybe opportunity for a fresh fish counter – “catch while you shop”!

Bruce Brooker's drawing of intersection

 

Canadian reader on water saving

Where water is hardly in short supply an Interesting comment from a Canadian reader on water saving

Whilst some find it impossible to follow the need to reduce water usage in spite of the municipality’s pleas and efforts, a St Francis Today reader living in Canada shows us all up. (Yes we do have readers in Canada, the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Emirates and even one regular reader in Russia.) Canada is dotted with lakes and rivers with winter snowfalls keeping these beautiful lakes and rivers well supplied with water so one cannot imagine the need for those living in Canada finding it necessary to save water. Yet some appreciate water as a valuable resource and in spite of its abundance make every effort to save every drop., something we in Kouga need to start making every effort to follow likewise.

Here is what the reader CdnErin’ wrote that maybe an example to all of us who haven’t quite got the hang of saving water.

“I’m on the other side of the globe — in Canada. Generally we have lots of water, but I cringe when I see people wasting it, because we don’t get a lot of rain in my area, and snow doesn’t always contain a lot of water, so spring melt isn’t always wet, if that makes sense.

I conserve water in my household as much as humanly possible. We do not use the dishwasher. I wash dishes by hand, and use a basin to rinse them after washing. The basin is then poured under my trees or on flowerbeds, depending on what is the driest. In winter, I shovel sow onto my perennial flowerbeds & move it under the trees. I’m big on using grey water instead of wasting it.
IF I was in a drought situation as you are there in Africa, I would put the plug in my bathtub when I shower & I would use that water on lawns and/or to wash the vehicle (I don’t drive, though, so no vehicle to wash).

I personally feel that all new houses SHOULD be build with grey water tanks — so that the water you shower in or that you use in the kitchen to wash vegetables or wash dishes can be reused to flush the toilet or water the lawn & gardens or be used to wash the car. I have never understood why we are using good clean drinkable water to flush the toilet (but I don’t have a choice, it’s how houses are built, unfortunately).

I hope for you all to get some direly needed precipitation & get those reservoirs filled! I was reading something recently about India or Pakistan having come up with a way to treat sea water to remove the salt then make it into drinkable water, and they’re having great success with it. I think it would be an expensive proposition BUT it would solve so many issues, from empty reservoirs to solving rising sea levels due to climate change… just a thought, looking to the future, since those are the big issues South Africa are facing right now. Cheers!”

Let us all work together, visitors and residents together – SAVE WATER!

Property Owners Association trigger SRA Vote

St Francis Property Owners launch SRA Vote

Following the successful meeting held to introduce property owners to the renewed details of the Special Rates Area the association has released the following press release . Full details of the proposal are available on the SFPO website and if you are not fully aware of what the SRA entails it makes for some good reading this weekend. All the details along with a voting form are avaiable on the website http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za.

St Francis property owners within the demarcated area (Village and Canal areas) are being asked to re-vote on the revised SRA Proposal which the St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) presented at two Public Meetings at The Links on 20th December and January 3rd. The votes cast in 2017 are not applicable as the

Kouga Municipality revised its SRA By-Law and Policy (gazetted on 29th December) and the SFPO revised its SRA proposal.

New SRA proposal:

  1. SRA levy of 25% of property owners’ monthly/annual rates (reduced from the original 50%).
  2. The shortfall in revenue will be contributed from alternative sources ie Riparians, Kromme Joint River Committee, the Port, Kouga Municipality and donations
  3. The Demarcated area for the levy will include the Village and Canal areas. Santareme, St Francis on Sea, Port, Otters Landing, Industrial Sites and The Links could be included at a later stage if the property owners in these areas choose to participate
  4. The scope of projects and services include:
    • The restoration of the beach, spit and river (priority 1)
    • The repair and maintenance of sections of the arterial roads and parking areas to be limited to the Village centre and main intersections along with pedestrian and cycle tracks along main arterial roads (priority 2)
    • The installation of CCTV camera surveillance in the demarcated area (priority 3)
    • Rebuild of the arterial roads (priority 4)

VOTING – there are several methods available for voting. Vote via:

  1. SMS: We will send all property owners, for whom we have cell phone numbers, an SMS inviting you to vote. You can reply by entering your Id number and your vote (YES or No). If you haven’t received an SMS request by 12 January  and would like to take advantage of this simple voting method, please send your cell phone number and erf to contact@sfbresidents.org
  2. SFPO Website Voting system at :    http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/
  3. Manual voting form:
  • Available on the SFPO website or at the SFPO office at 115 St Francis Drive, and a copy
  • It is also included below.for your convenience
  • You can scan or photograph (with your cell phone) the completed voting form and send it to the SFPO via WhatSapp or SMS on 0827775624, or via email to contact@sfbresidents.org
  • Alternatively you can drop it off at our office.

The re-voting process must be completed by February 24th 2018 and we urge all property owners to give this proposal their urgent attention and submit their vote as soon as possible.

A third public meeting is planned for January 11th 2018 (17h30 at The Links) for those St Francis property owners and members of the business community who may not have had an opportunity to attend the earlier meetings.

 

Bathers Saved off Ann Avenue

Bathers Saved off Ann Avenue but one man missing

The  NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated shortly after midday yesterday afternoon following reports of multiple people in difficulty in the surf off Anne Avenue Beach.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers raced to the beach to join four  Kouga Municipal lifeguards, three of the volunteer  lifeguards and two local surfers who were in the surf attempting to rescue nine bathers who had been swept out to sea by rip currents.

The NSRI rescue swimmers swam out to the lifeguards who confirmed that they had eight of bathers in a group and along with one of the surfers were assisting casualties to the the beach. The NSRI rescue swimmers then swam to a surfer who was helping one casualty and the surfer was able to get that casualty to the shore.

Once all nine bathers were safely brought to the beach where the were checked by paramedics from Private Care ambulance services and required no further medical care.

It was then confirmed that one person remained unaccounted for, a local 28 year old man, and the NSRI sea rescue craft, a Private fixed wing aircraft, a Police helicopter and a K-9 Search and Rescue team and a Police Dive Unit joined in the ongoing search operation but despite an extensive search no sign of the missing man has been found.

Police will continue an ongoing search and recovery operation and Police have opened an investigation.

NSRI commend the lifeguards and the two surfers who rescued the bather from the water and NSRI thank the private plane that assisted in the ongoing search for the missing man.

NOTE: Bathers should be cautious when swimming off Ann Avenue as it is not patrolled by lifeguards

NSRI St Francis Bay

Dining at Dune Ridge St Francis Bay

Positive meeting on SRA

St Francis Bay residents respond positively to proposed SRA

St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) chairman Wayne Furphy addressed a far larger crowd yesterday afternoon at the second public meeting on the proposed St Francis Bay Special Rates Ares (SRA) and what a positive crowd in proved to be. Question from the floor were mainly very positive with some attendees almost suggesting they would not be averse to a higher rate than the suggested 25% should it be necessary later. To avoid confusion, the rate has been set at 25% for ten years and cannot be increased..

Furphy again stressed that residents in the area south of Harbour road (Santareme et al) were not being excluded from the new SRA as a form of punishment but rather because of the urgency of the beach and spit and that a decision had to be made to get the ball rolling. He once again explained the problem of securing votes, yes or no, in this area because of the large number of vacant plots, many of which seemed to have been abandoned by owners as rates hadn’t been paid on some for years.

The door is certainly not shut for those residents presently excluded from the SRA joining this proposed SRA at a later stage or indeed setting up their own. Obviously infrastructure and services that have become priorities in these areas differ from those on the canals and village.

On the subject of CCTV Furphy also left the window open explaining that excluding the Santareme area only saved around 25% of the cost of installing a CCTV system in the area. If a solution could be found to have these residents included a comprehensive CCTV system would be infinitely more effective (he suggested it would cost the excluded region around R80 a month per home to install a system covering the entire region.

In closing Furphy explained the extremely tight timeline required to have the SRA approved and he appealed to all present to get their vote, yes or no, in as soon a possible to ensure all deadlines were met to process the SRA.

For those who may have missed both these public meetings a third meeting will be held at The Links on Thursday 11th January at 5:30 pm. All residents who haven’t yet attended one of these meetings really should make every effort to hear what is being planned.

CCTV for St Francis Bay

Green icons indicates camera placements with those in shaded area excluded from initial proposal unless funding from greater Santareme area can be secured