A casual encounter whilst enjoying a quiet cup of coffee at Euro Café yesterday morning proved rather interesting, having just published the article on “Saving the coastline from Port to spit” a couple of hours earlier. The happenstance was with a group of ‘hands on’ jetty contractors and their comments, and indeed ideas, were rather interesting.

Now everyone is an expert when it comes to discussing any subject that we have a little knowledge of but in the real world we must leave it in the hands of the ‘experts’ to decide on the best solutions. But do the ‘experts’ really have all the answers. Certainly they have the qualifications and access to scientific data to assist them but do they ever think of talking to the guys who get their hands dirty actually working on the cold face on a daily basis. The farm mechanic has solved as many problems fixing faults on trucks, bakkies and tractors as the engineers who originally designed these machines.

Not for one moment are we suggesting the ideas of these hand-on contractors will solve the problem but the little they said yesterday certainly made a lot of sense to a layman, if only in the short term. What we are saying is maybe they should be brought in as part of the process, if only for their ideas and hands on experience.

Only time will tell whether whatever they decide on will work but let us hope it won’t take another year to decide.

St Francis Today dug up this report compiled by Cllr Ben Rheeder published almost exactly a year ago on kougademocrat.com website.

St Francis Bay Spit/Dune and Beach update

It is common knowledge that two contractors were stopped by DEDEA (Environmental Affairs) doing repairs on rock revetments on the St Francis Bay beach. They were stopped due to not having proper authority.

After discussions on 10 March 2015 amongst Councillors Ben Rheeder, Chimpie Cawood and the Kouga Municipal Manager, Mr Fadi and Mr E Oosthuizen, Kouga Municipality confirmed their commitment to address the spit/dune & beach problem to their best ability, but that further discussions amongst Kouga Municipality, the Ward 12 Councillor and DEDEA must be done to determine the way forward.

This meeting took place the next day on 11 March 2015 and during discussions between us and DEDEA we were advised as follows:

To prevent DEDEA from cancelling the existing ROD, which allows us to do repairs to the rock revetments on the St Francis beach, Kouga Municipality was requested to send a special motivation to DEDEA under which property owners in St Francis Bay will be allowed to do repairs to the rock revetments.

The ROD was issued in the Name of Kouga Municipality who is liable to ensure the conditions contained in the ROD are adhered to. The contractors performed work without the knowledge or consent from Kouga Municipality and in the process contravened conditions contained in the ROD which led to the DEDEA stopping all work and the possible issuing of non-compliance notices.

The municipality will notify home owners when they may apply for authorisation.

The use of geo-textile bags to strengthen the spit/dune cannot proceed until a proper EIA is done.

That Kouga Municipality must appoint a consultant to determine the necessary actions as proposed in the Worley Parsons’ report by Dr Mocke. An EIA must then be done to implement the proposed actions.

Kouga Municipality consented to compile the motivation to DEDEA for rock revetment repairs, to proceed with the two EIA’s for the use of geo textile bags and actions as proposed by Worley Parsons respectively and to appoint a consultant as proposed by DEDEA.

Note : Any un-authorised actions will jeopardize further negotiations to acquire permission to do repairs to our beach.

Compiled by Cllr Ben Rheeder
Ward 12 ward councillor, Kouga Council
St Francis Bay

There is little doubt saving the beach and spit is a priority and for this, the longer term solutions discussed in yesterday’s report will hopefully be decided on sooner rather than later.