Dune Ridge Country House celebrates fourth anniversary

Dune Ridge turns four

Dune Ridge Country House is celebrating its fourth year since opening its doors way back in 2012 and to celebrate put to has a calendar of great Gourmet Dinners starting from Friday and running each month through to October.

Renowned for its wines, Dune Ridge holds a Diners Club Platinum Award for its outstanding wine collection, will, in partnership with NLR Wines, be presenting a food and wine pairing this coming Friday with winemaker Clayton Reabow presenting Moreson Estate wines. On June 29, winemaker Lourens van der Westhuizen visits Dune Ridge with a selection of Arendsig Wines followed in July when Anthony de Jager brings some of the Fairview collection. This is followed in August with Simon Smith from Louisvale presenting the wines with the final event on 7 October featuring Kevin Grant from Ataraxia.

But Dune Ridge is not only about wine and their magnificent cuisine for in the short time they have been operating they have already been finalist and winner of the prestigious Lilizela Tourism award winning the Provincial award in their very first year and almost every year since. Not only does Dune Ridge offer outstanding accommodation but offers guests an array of activities from star gazing, frog safaris and a several trails have been extended taking hikers deeper into the surrounding dune system.

Dune Ridge also hosts wonderful events and is the first choice for the Open your Eyes fund raising talks where they provide not only a superb meeting venue but put on a wonderful spread of sweet and savoury treats after each event much to the delight of those attending these talks. Recently they also host what one hopes will become a regular St Francis event when the presented a Classical music soiree.

Congratulations to Sarah Jane Swanepoel and her team for a top class facility that St Francis can be proud of.

To book for the Friday night food and wine pairing or to take advantage of the winter accommodation special where you pay for two nights but get to stay for three, call +27 42 294 1560 or eMail reservations@duneridgestfrancis.co.za

Dune Ridge Gourmet Calendar

Flawed Thyspunt Impact Rating Criteria (IRCs)

Thyspunt Environmental Report “fatally flawed” Continued

Flawed Thyspunt Impact Rating Criteria (IRCs)

These are the process by which the significance of an impact can be determined. They are crucial to decision-making.  They were drafted by environmental consultants Gibb, who were appointed and have been paid by Eskom. They have been a point of contention for the past eight years.

The first set of criteria was criticised strongly by the Thyspunt Alliance on the grounds that the requirements were such that it was impossible to identify a fatal flaw. The peer group monitor found them incomprehensible, leading to the conclusion that none of the sites were suitable. A revised set was published in the 2011 Revised Draft, which contained some improvements, but, in the view of the Alliance was still unacceptable. The key issue was “Intensity”. Unless a high rating was awarded for intensity, it remained impossible to have a fatal flaw. The problem with this was that to justify a high rating, both the biophysical (natural) environment had to be destroyed and social, cultural and other factors had to be substantially affected. The complaint was that it was quite possible that one of these was true, whereas the other might be less so; and that in any case, no specialist, being a specialist, was competent to express a view on both groups.

A response to this was only received in September, 2015 (four years later!), in which  the Environmental Impact Assessor (EAP) , the person running the EIA on behalf of consultants Gibb, conceded that it was not necessary for both sets of criteria to have a high rating, and that intensity could be rated high if either set was high.

This was a fundamental change, but the problem was that none of the specialists’ reports had been done on that basis. They all needed to be reviewed to determine whether the final significance rating would have been different in terms of the EAP’s interpretation. To have such a major correction at this stage in the EIA process is not acceptable.

The Alliance regards this deficiency in the Impact Rating Criteria as a fatal flaw. It could affect all 250 odd identified impacts.

Article by Hilton Thorpe, on behalf of the St Francis Kromme Trust, the St Francis Bay  Residents’ Association and the Thyspunt Alliance