Have a Heart

Have a Heart – To coincide with the launch of their Have a Heart campaign, St Francis Animal Rescue (SFAR), have also launched their new website to keep generous supporters up to date with progress in caring for the pets of Sea Vista. The ‘Have A Heart’ campaign is to encourage animal lovers in St Francis and further afield to support SFAR’s efforts to sterilize, feed and medicate needy cats and dogs in the Sea Vista township.

SFAR has asked for a monthly pledge of between R50 – R500 from St Francis Bay residents, and those further afield, who care about animals, and share its mission of eliminating the neglect and cruelty that stems from the breeding of unwanted puppies and kittens.

“If we can reach our goal of encouraging donations from 400 animal lovers, our charity will become sustainable into the future,” says  SFAR’s.Susan Rae Fox

According to Susan, the last 12 months has seen SFAR grow from strength to strength. “What started as a small group of volunteers who met in Sea Vista to help residents by booking their cats and dogs for sterilization, has expanded to include 10 to 12 volunteers at a time, working side by side.”

The volunteers feed dogs on site, provide owners with bags of cat, kitten, puppy and dog food to take home, deworm and spray cats and dogs for ticks and fleas, and provide medical assistance with local vets for injured and sick pets.

SFAR’s sterilisation programme – Open Your Eyes & Sterilise – has spayed and neutered 120 dogs and cats since January 2018 – a period of four months.

“Moreover, our Feral Cats program has taken 71 breeding cats out of circulation during the same period. More and more owners are bringing dogs and cats to the SFAR Thursday outreaches and we are receiving a greater number of calls for assistance with wounded and sick dogs and cats needing help from a vet.”

Susan says SFAR expenses have recently increased to a point where the organisation needs to look beyond regular fund-raising through events, jumble sales, dog walks and cake sales – to cover its monthly costs.

The breakdown of SFAR’s costs – from 1 January to 20 March.

  • Vet spend – R67 241
  • Outreach medicines including Parvo vaccines, dewormers and Frontline Spray for puppies  – R13 101
  • Food purchases – R21 126
  • incidentals –   kennels, cat traps, collars & leads, printing costs for fund-raiser promotions – R9 609

Susan says this year has seen an explosion of puppies and kittens in Sea Vista. More and more puppies are being brought to outreach, despite the organisation sterilising five or six dogs every week, and many more domestic and feral cats. “It’s easy to become overwhelmed at the daunting task we face. Easy to start asking ourselves whether we are, in fact, helping improve the quality of these dog’s lives with our feeding, vaccinating and sterilization program,” she adds.

However, she believes this is due to the fact that more and more people know about St Francis Animal Rescue after all the work the organisation has done. “The solution is to keep focusing on sterilization and, through ongoing comprehensive education, impress upon dog and cat owners how important it is to reduce the numbers of puppies and kittens born.” There is never enough food, comfort or shelter for the puppies and kittens born into Sea Vista, and SFAR hopes to spread its net wider to reach those pet-owners who are not bringing their animals to us and are not yet aware of how sterilization can change lives – theirs and their pets.

“So, one step at a time, hopefully, by working together to spread the word, and with the help of animal lovers in St Francis Bay, we can change this situation in the future,” concludes Rae Fox.

 

Donations can be made online on St Francis Animal Rescue’s website

http://stfrancisanimalrescue.org

Kirsten Doyle

Kirsten Doyle

Article by St Francis Today’s roving reporter Kirsten Doyle

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IDP/budget meetings for Wards 11 to 15

Three meetings will be held for Ward 12

Public meetings will be held over the next two weeks for residents from Wards 11 to 15 about Kouga Municipality’s draft budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the upcoming financial year.

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said residents from these wards were encouraged to attend. Meetings have already taken place in all other wards.

The meeting for Ward 11 will take place at the Newton Hall on 9 May at 6pm.

Three meetings will be held for Ward 12. The first will take place on 10 May at 6pm at the St Francis Village Hall. The second meeting is scheduled for 14 May at 3pm at the Dutch Reformed Church hall in Paradise Beach and the third meeting for 15 May at 6pm at the Humansdorp Country Club.

The meeting for Ward 13 will take place on 16 May at 6pm at the Weston Hall.

Two meetings will be held for Ward 14. The first meeting will take place on 17 May at 10am at the Marina Martinique Hall, followed by another meeting later that same day, at 6pm, at the Tokyo Sexwale Club House.

The last two meetings in this public participation round will be held for Ward 15, with the first scheduled to take place on 21 May at 3pm at Ons Tuiste in Humansdorp. The final meeting will be held on 22 May at 6pm at the Humansdorp Country Club.

Enquiries can be directed to the municipality’s IDP manager, Colleen Dreyer, at cdreyer@kouga.gov.za or on 042 200 2200.

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Chasing the nurdles

In October last year during a major storm, 49 tons made up of 2 billion plastic nurdles, were released into the ocean when a ship’s cargo was compromised during the storm. To date, only 13.39 tons of those nurdles have been recovered meaning there is still 35 tons of plastic from this single spill, still floating around in the ocean. Considering the ocean currents that wash our shores there is a possibility, although quite remote, that some of these nurdles could be washed up on our shores and thus Chanel Gemae Hauvet’s appeal, following an appeal f from  Coast KZN sent to NSRI Stations around the South African coastline.

WHAT ARE NURDLES?

Nurdles are small plastic pellets about the size of a lentil. Countless billion are used each year to make nearly all our plastic products but many end up washing up on our shores. Spills and mishandling by industry can mean nurdles end up at sea. Our planets oceans are now accumulating nurdles in worryingly large numbers. Unlike large pieces of plastic marine litter, nurdles are so small that they go largely unnoticed. However scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about their effect on our delicate marine ecosystem as nurdles attract and concentrate background pollutants like DDT and PCBs to highly toxic levels and like other plastic, over time they just fragment into smaller and smaller plastic particles, are mistaken for prey by many marine animals and seabirds and enter the food chain..

Chanel’s post ……

“Hello St Francis, Paradise Beach, JBay an Oyster Bay

I would like to ask your assistance towards the conservation of our beautiful ocean and beaches. On October 10, 2017, there was a large Nurdle spill off the Durban coastline.  Although most nurdles have been washing up along the Durban/KZN coastline, some wash up along ours too. Every nurdle collected counts thus this appeal.

Nurdles are very small plastic pellets used as raw material in the manufacturing of plastic products. They attract harmful substances such as pesticides, herbicides and other pollutants as well as heavy metals that end up in the ocean, therefore they are harmful to life and should not be ingested. They never break down!

NSRI stations across the South African coastline have received Nurdle bins from WildOceans (a programme of the WILDTRUST), whose mission is to help clean up the nurdle spill, that has now spread along the South African coast. WildOceans, along with the Department of Environmental Affairs and SAAMBR, have commissioned 300 bins to be distributed along the entire coastline, which are there for us as a community to use as a nurdle collection point.

NSRI Station 21 St Francis Bay has a bin located at their base and I urge everybody to do their part. The Wildside on Cape St Francis , up to Oyster Bay is a specific stretch of coastline in our area where we may find washed up nurdles. I urge you all, to please keep a look out for and contribute to the collection of these little pellets and to drop them off at our local Station 21. If any of you have any Nurdles to contribute you can get a hold of us on 071 381 8922 (Tony Myles), 

Thank you

Chanel Gemae Hauvet”

For more information visit http://www.coastkzn.co.za/nurdles?Theme=4

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And so back to the bridge

A bridge too far? (nearly there)

The Sand River Bridge has become rather an emotional subject to many a local St Franciscan and so it is a challenge to write an article that will not offend someone. The ‘Have your Say’ article by Garth Perry certainly sparked a lot of support for his views and one could say the local population at large are somewhat ‘peed off’ at the progress.

Following Garth’s ‘Have your Say’ St Francis Today, along with a representative of St Francis Property Owners were invited to a site inspection and insight to the progress and where it was going. SFT has no knowledge of how SFPO will interpret the fact-finding visit and no doubt their interpretation will be covered in their monthly newsletter but here are the ’facts’ as interpreted by SFT.

  • Completion is due by July 2018.
  • The contract will end way under budget. The contractor’s words were “significantly”.
  • There is going to be one heck of a lot more inconvenience to drivers in the coming weeks.

If we look back at the contract to build the bridge, SFT traces our initial meeting with EMPA to February 2016 after the contract had been awarded to them in very late 2015.  Forward planning of the site office and a start to re-routing of the river followed in March. Then came the first delay when the contract was challenged by those who felt more entitled to being awarded the work. Either simultaneously or shortly after this challenge, DEDEAT became involved and of course we all know that with best intentions DEDEAT will delay the best intentions.

Finally, in September 2016 EMPA were able to return to site to continue what they had started six months earlier. The estimated construction time was 18–months so if we calculate from October to today it is 19 months since the actual work commenced full time. Take off two months for the two Christmas shutdowns and we end up with 17 months.  So EMPA’s claim that they are ahead of schedule is true albeit if they finish in July they will have exceeded the contract period by roughly a month. Finish by the end of June and they are right on time.

Just recently there has been a delay caused not by the contractor but by Provincial roads. It is a small modification but a modification nonetheless.  This mod is necessary for as we well know many if not most locals do not believe that traffic laws apply to them and generally treat the laws with disdain until a minibus taxi happens on them when they cry foul and demand Kouga Traffic, Provincial Traffic and indeed even the Minister of Police take action against the lawlessness. But we digress.

Travelling from Humansdorp to St Francis the road takes a gentle curve to the right about 100 metres after the bridge which at the speed limit in place of 80 KPH presents no problem. Unfortunately few will abide the 80KPH and most will enter this curve at well over 100 KPH and herein lies the  Province’s concern and the need for the modification. The contractor gave it another name but for sake of better understanding, we shall call it a camber. The bridge is being modified to accommodate a camber that will set up speeding cars for the curve reducing the chances of an accident. NOTE “reducing”! Be sure some will approach the curve at well over 100 and so there will still be accidents which we certainly hope won’t be blamed on the contractor in future letters to the press.

So now the bad news!

For a period of around six weeks, motorists are going to be inconvenienced with a stop/go when crossing the bridge, 24/7. In other words, the stop/go will be in place day and night.

The road has to be rebuilt some 100 metres either side of the bridge and the inconvenience is simply unavoidable. So “Dear Fellow St Franciscans”, let us all show a little patience and refrain from cursing the workers alongside the work area or showing them your Archers Finger for there is little they can do other than get on with the job at hand. The contractor has said they will be doing all in their power to finish this section well ahead of the predicted six weeks so we don’t need to antagonise them.

It is nearly over so let’s not throw ’water over the troubled bridge’.

FOOTNOTE:

There have been comments that this was no ordinary bridge for Eskom had involvement to ensure the bridge would have both width and strength to carry the weight f the nuclear turbines. EMPA is neither admitting nor denying but one gets the feeling that this certainly was the case.

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NSRI St Francis avert potential disaster

NSRI St Francis in massive disaster prevention effort

National Sea Rescue

It is appropriate that our photo of the week has the NSRI Spirit of St Francis Rescue boat featured alongside the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior for our local lads and ladies from NSRI did us proud this weekend both in preventing a disaster as reported below but also on a personal note at the Kromme Descent.

At 19h30, Friday, 4th May, NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were alerted following reports of the Tug Boat AHT Carrier reporting that while towing the MT Order (towing to Maputo) the towing rope had separated and rope had fouled the tug boats one motor tethering her to the casualty boat and she was unable to recover the tow rope to re-attach a towline to the casualty vessel and reporting that effectively both the tug boat and the casualty vessel were drifting shorewards in the currents but at that stage still at least 15 nautical miles off-shore.

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), NSRI St Francis Bay, NSRI Jeffreys Bay and NSRI Port Elizabeth were placed on alert and while no lives were in any immediate danger with the 2 vessels tethered to each other the sea rescue stations remained on high alert to respond if an emergency developed.

The tugboat investigated all possibilities to detach herself from the casualty vessel and to re-attach a towline.

At 23h50, with unconfirmed information suggesting that the casualty vessel and the tugboat to be anywhere between 5 to 10 nautical miles off-shore and NSRI unable to gather accurate information on the exact amount of crew on the tugboat NSRI assisted to gather information from the ship’s agents.

It was reported that salvage divers had been activated from Cape Town but it would take quite some time to reach the scene.

It was then confirmed that there were 14 crew onboard the tugboat AHT Carrier and no crew onboard MT Order and at 05h00 NSRI learnt that they were now at least close to 4 nautical miles off-shore and that the SA Amandla salvage vessel had been activated but they were only due to arrive on the scene at 14h00.

At 05h10, Saturday, 05th May, NSRI made the decision to activate an emergency and the NSRI St Francis Bay sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II and the NSRI Jeffreys Bay sea rescue craft Eddie Beaumont II launched.

On arrival on the scene we found both vessels approximately 5 nautical miles off-shore and in the current drift, they were approximately about 2 hours from running aground.

All crew onboard the tug were safe but they were helpless without a tender boat to recover their towline from the water and with rope fouled around one motor leaving the MT Order at risk of running aground.

Rope fouled around the motor of AHT Carrier had been loosened but one motor was still not operational.

On investigation we found a cable lying in the water off the stern of the casualty vessel.

The NSRI sea rescue craft maneuvered around the ship and followed that cable lying over her stern into the water and we found a chain attached to that cable and then thick rope attached to that chain.

The thick and very heavy rope that we found was hauled with great difficulty but successfully by our NSRI rescue crews onto the sea rescue craft (as much of the thick rope as was possible was recovered) and NSRI then rigged a patent line, using NSRI normal towing rope, and we were able to feed that patent line that we had rigged to the crew of the tug boat and the tug boat recovered their towline and stern to stern, on one motor, the tow ropes integrity was sound and the tug boat was able to hold the casualty ship by using her one operational motor from drifting and stopping their drift towards shore at 08h18.

NSRI sea rescue craft remained on the scene and only returned to re-fuel.

The tugboat, with her one motor operational and tow-line rigged stern to stern, they were able to gently head further out to sea.

NSRI met the SA Amandla on her arrival at around 13h00 and we stood by on the scene while the SA Amandla took over the tow of the casualty vessel from AHT Carrier.

Once the tow was safely taken up by SA Amandla NSRI returned to base and later in the afternoon we have been requested to take the salvage divers out to the AHT Carrier.

The SA Amandla has now towed the casualty ship further out to sea and no further NSRI assistance has been requested.

During the operation, Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with communications and Disaster Risk Management had also been placed on alert and SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) are assisting with coordinating this operation.

NSRI St Francis Bay, NSRI Jeffreys Bay and all involved in this operation are commended for averting a disaster at sea today.

From NSRI Press Release

Kromme Descent 2018

Kromme River Descent – A Great Event

Wow! What wonderful weather we enjoyed over the weekend. And what a great advert for St Francis with the swimming of the annual Kromme Descent. Swimmers, not only from St Francis and Port Elizabeth but even a few from Cape Town and possibly even further afield descended on St Francis for the swimming of the Kromme Decent. From small beginners with only a handful of swimmers four years ago the descent has blossomed into a major and epic swimming event on the Eastern Cape calendar.

Sensibly the organisers are limiting entry to just 50 pairs (100 swimmers) lest the event becomes overcrowded. Rather than being an individual event the swimmers compete in pairs with the times of both swimmers deciding their eventual success in the placings. Another rather clever idea is that as the event is held over two days the starting order for the second day is not what one would expect with the ‘first in’ on the first day being the ‘first out’ on the second day. Rather, to assist in all the swimmers crossing the finishing line in as short a time as possible, the slowest in on the first day ae the first out on the second day. A little confusing at the finish line for some when expected when odds-on favourite, local Liquid Lines owner and coach Haydn Holmes was preceded by three or four oldies.

In another twist to the event St Francis Runners got in on the act and had an informal race where the challenge was for them to run 15 kilometres in the time it took the first swimmer to reach the Cove. The runners won I nail-biter by with Richard Morris crossing the line just 10 seconds ahead of the first swimmer in. That said however, had Hadyn Holmes started at the same time as the runners rather than as the last swimmers group it would have been ‘no contest’. So St Francis Runners have the bragging rights until next year.

Well done all the swimmers.

On a somewhat personal note I would lke to thank NSRI, or rather to two of your crew along with Craig Jarvis. Whilst swimmers were crossing the line this scribes sister-in-law in an attempt to come ashore from a boat, attempted a swallow dive from boat to jetty that sadly and seriously ended in rather bad belly flop. The NSRI crew immediately came to her aid and with Craig fetching his emergency medical kit they were able to staunch the bleeding and bandage her up so that she could be transported to Dr Jean Malan. Thanks too , to Dr Malan for his immediately interrupting his Sunday and attending to Dawn. Unfortunately the injuries were rather severe and required specialist surgery in Port Elizabeth.

As I missed the prize-giving as a result of the accident I thank Richard Arderne for the prize-giving photographs.

 

Winners – Haydn Holmes and Ant Pearse (centre)

Ladies Winners – Maria Houbenova Holmes and Tracy Gous.

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