Who will pick up the bill

It is fair to assume that the petition to ‘Save the Spit’ signed  by several hundred concerned SFB residents had an influence on  DEDEAT’s decision to allow emergency reparations to commence on the spit albeit with certain conditions and restrictions. The input of the Municipal Manager Charl du Plessis should also not be ignored for there is little doubt his input resulted in the positive outcome. Threatened with severe consequence should the spit breach, they really had no alternative for it was mooted that either DEDEAT or the municipality, or both, could be held liable for any damage to property in the event of such a breach.

The question now that DEDEAT has allowed reparations to proceed does this absolve them from any claims should the spit breach say during the winter storms? But should the spit breach and DEDEAT and the municipality are absolved then surely all reparation to private canal walls and indeed even garden and home interiors will thus have to be borne by the individual home owner. So that begs the next question, would individual insurance cover pay for home owners damage if it is considered that they were aware of the potential chance of damage and made no effort to contribute to corrective efforts..

Hopefully the work being done by SFPO, the Riparians and Joint River committee should see them pump sufficient sand onto the spit in the coming months to bolster the spit through the winter storms and until a more permanent solution can be implemented.

Moving from the spit to the beach front properties where owners have had to spend hundreds of thousands of Rands in rebuilding the revetments to protect their properties being engulfed by the ocean. In a way these home owners are the final bastion against the ocean encroaching further into St Francis Bay. There can be little doubt the rock revetments are a temporary solution and can only be effective for a limited time. The beach simply has to be restored so as to prevent the daily high tide assault on these revetments causing them to slowly subside.

Many will say the beach is not their problem, or it’s a lost cause, or there is no way it will encroach further, or the proposed solution won’t work. With nothing else on the table surely it is worth at least trying for to do nothing, certainly won’t fix anything.

Reading between the lines of a Facebook post this weekend it seems the anti-SRA lobbyists are not going to accept the results of the SRA vote should it go against them.  Let us hope they don’t drag this into the courts a la the Quayside debacle spending funds that could be better spent on saving St Francis.

Note: Those who regular use Cape St Francis beach probably wouldn’t notice but is it possible that thi beach is also starting to erode?

Propaganda or a Life or Death situation?

Propaganda or a Life or Death situation – You Decide!

There  is no doubt that some SRA detractors will claim the following to be more SRA propaganda but if there is only small chance that this comment on the yesterday’s post “Body of Youngster Recovered” is remotely accurate, this alone is reason enough to support the SFPO efforts to raise funds to fix the beach. .

The comment made by Craig Kilfoil

“As a local surfer with 5 years NSRI behind me, I have been warning anyone that would listen, that what remains of main beach, is no longer safe on a high tide. Late last year, after a few instances where I was less than comfortable myself landing at main beach after surfing;  After personally rescuing more than one local young surfer from the water trying to exit at main beach, I predicted that there would be a drowning in December. Unfortunately there was.

Now another.

Beware – Main beach on a high tide is dangerous. The risk needs to be addressed before we lose any more local or visitor lives.

Fixing our beach is now, literally, a life or death situation.”

There certainly were instances on St Francis Bay beaches over the holidays that need to be considered serious (Bathers Saved off Ann Avenue) and sadly now, two drownings.The question needs to be asked, should bathing be banned during high tides or should the Kouga municipality maybe allocate a permanent lifeguard to protect the beach?

The obvious answer would be to fix the beach for it has never been considered a dangerous beach in years gone by.

We pinned our flag to the SRA mast

Why we pinned our flag to the SRA mast

A few readers have taken umbrage to the fact that St Francis Today is openly supporting the proposed SRA. One reader is calling it “biased and condescending piece of journalism”.  First may I clarify as I have on previous posts that I have never made claim that I am a journalist. Certainly I was a columnist for a Sunday National some years ago but never claimed otherwise. By the very nature of columnist one has the right to express one’s opinion. This is exactly what I did in Friday’s post, I expressed an opinion. St Francis Today is primarily a Blog with a news slant as we disseminate news from the main South African News Media. We have no pretensions of being a news media house. St Francis has a news media publication for the purpose of news reporting . All St Francis Today does is as update what i happening in St Francis on a day to day basis.

Those who are outraged at our pinning our flag to the SRA mast, why did you not make similar comment when SFT came out strongly in support of those against Thyspunt and nuclear? Why no complaints that we were being biased when we openly promoted the DA in the Municipal elections. Some things are too important not to make a stand and we believe St Francis needs a helping hand to survive.

But let me explain why I support the SRA even though I live in Cape St Francis and it certainly doesn’t really affect me. Having moved to St Francis some four years ago I have come to love what will be where I will probably live out my life. I don’t make much use of the canals nor the St Francis Bay beach but to lose them would be a catastrophe. I have a young niece and nephew who have spent most of their childhood and now adult holidays in St Francis Bay. They in turn have a little boy and girl who I would pray will also have the opportunity of spending their youth enjoying St Francis. For them and for thousands of others who have enjoyed and hopefully will continue to enjoy St Francis, I support the SRA.

I certainly do not have a problem with those who are against the SRA and respect them for their stand for it is everyone’s right to form their own opinion. Living in a democracy it is the final vote count that will decide the outcome and should it be against the SRA, one would hope those who have lobbied so actively against the SRA will step into the breach and at last make a suggestion or plan to ensure St Francis Bay doesn’t get gobbled up by the sea or that the crime doesn’t reach a level where people leave St Francis Bay for the same reason many moved here, to escape the crime in bigger cities..

One does not need to look far for towns that have slid into disrepair. KZN and the Eastern Cape both have more than their share. Lack of service delivery will have nothing on falling property prices and many a nest eggs may just be eaten up by the snakes of inactivity.

Your Vote Counts so don’t waste it

Last years original SRA votes do not count – Please Re-VOTE

As the deadline for votes on the proposed 2018 SRA (Special Rates Area) approaches it really needs your vote to make it a fair process. Whether your vote is FOR or AGAINST the proposed SRA it is important that you cast your vote for this a democratic process.

PLEASE NOTE this is a whole new process. Your vote last year or the year before counts for nothing and you must re-cast your vote as it is a totally new proposal where the rate has dropped substantially by some 50%. If you are not aware of the new proposal you can read a synopsis below or the full proposal at

Full SRA-Proposal

Or should you want to delve deeper into the actual Business Plan then read

SRA Motivation & Business Plan

If you are not too sure whether your vote has been recorded or indeed if you have voted, you can check your vote on

Votes Received

St Francis Property Owners as appealed to all property owners in the demarcated area  (see map below) to vote as soon as possible as the voting closes on February 24th 2018.

SRA proposal: (Synopsis)

  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)

Cross the Line interiors St Francis Bay

Spit photo comparison

Photos illustrates how the Spit is eroding

Photographer Stan Blumberg recently sent us an aerial photograph of the spit which clearly illustrates how it has eroded and how critical it is becoming to do something to arrest the erosion.

A recent petition signed by those concerned with the condition of the spit was lodged with the Kouga municipal manager who will, if he has not already done so, lodge these with the Department of the Environmental Affairs (DEDEAT). Hopefully DEDEAT will jump start the approval of the submissions to save the spit rather than having the application gather dust for the next year or more.

DEDEAT stopped the St Francis Bay Riparians from depositing sand dredged from the river on the seaside of the spit, which was having a positive result, but allowed the sand to be deposited on the landward side. As can be seen from the photo this clearly isn’t working so maybe if DEDEAT can reverse their decision and possibly it will buy a little time until the proposed solution can be implemented.

For those who may have missed the first two  public meetings on 20th December, 3rd January  where the St Francis Property Owners association presented details on the proposed SRA a third public meeting will be held tomorrow (11th January) at 5:30pm at St Francis Links. If you need more information on the proposed SRA  before casting your vote it will be worthwhile spending aan hour ro listen to what is being proposed.

SFPO  has introduced an online voting form on their website should you prefer to cast your vate, YES or NO, on the proposed SRA. The form can be found on their website – http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/

 

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