An open letter to the chairman of the Concerned Residents Association (CRA)
The following is a letter forwarded by the author for publication in the hope that possibly that all in St Francis should work together for a common cause.
As you know I am an active supporter of the SRA and also an active supporter of the collaborative resolution of issues by a unified SF Bay community.
I am writing this in my personal capacity with a view to continuing to build bridges between the two organisations in the interests of our community.
I remain concerned that there are a number of fundamental misconceptions on the part of the CRA, which better communication, on a “we” rather than “us” and “them” basis, would resolve.
Your concerns have been encapsulated under 3 categories.
You state quite clearly, that the CRA are not opposed to the SRA as such, but at the same time it appears that you are seeking it’s abolishment through the legal proceedings.
Considering the enormous task that it took to get to the point that actual constructive progress could be made, you can understand how disappointing it is for those who have spent considerable time and money to try to establish the SRA.
This was done with the full knowledge that our rates and taxes have, thus far been mismanaged with the consequent deterioration of the infrastructure, and that even when the DA addresses this, the majority of their budget will of necessity go to the electorate who live in dire circumstances.
The big picture is that Tourism is what drives the towns economy. If we do not re-establish our beaches, save the canals and improve the infrastructure and safety and security, then we will no longer be a destination of choice and property values will continue to decline. The pensioners in particular will be worst hit, as their biggest assets are most likely to be their properties. If the local economy thrives, then Property prices go up, shops do well and more jobs are available for the Sea Vista community and of course the tax base goes up which allows the Municipality to improve their living circumstances.
In view of the number of properties in Santareme that are not built on, and many untraceable owners, it was not possible to get the requisite number of votes from that side timeously.
The Strategy was quite simple, that we needed to start somewhere and then we would extend the base to INCLUDE all as soon as possible. Dave Harpur is actively working on that as a Santareme resident, and would love the help of your supporters in achieving this.
If we had not done it this way, we would have lost valuable time in trying to save the spit and in addressing other infrastructure and safety and security concerns.
I am aware, incidentally, that there is a view that the beach and the spit are not the problem of people whose properties aren’t on them.
This is of course a very short sighted view, as evening cruises on the canals, are a unique draw card for St Francis and strolls on the beach are fundamental to beach holidays. So even if certain residents never do this, they can now understand that the value of their homes is underpinned by the healthy existence of both of these.
The SRA would welcome active participants who can be a part of the solutions to issues rather than being part of the problem, so it is more of the case that the CRA individuals have excluded themselves from the process by not being part of finding solutions. Joining the discussions where the issues can be understood and solutions found, would then deal with the concerns surrounding the Levy structure, means test and project selection.
Naturally it will be almost impossible to get everybody’s priorities the same, but that should not be for lack of trying. Where there is a spirit of compromise in the best interests of the broader community, fundamental to all successful relationships, solutions will be found.
It is highly unlikely that St Francis will have this opportunity to deal with the pressing issues that face our community in the South Africa of today, again. One might be critical of aspects of the SRA implementation, but Wayne and others have spent inordinate amounts of time and energy, for no personal gain, on our behalf and we should all be extremely thankful that we have people of such intellect and energy applying their minds as best they can.
Please feel free to call me to discuss anything and I urge you, and other members of the CRA, to withdraw the legal action and to join forces with the SRA to find better solutions to the issues you raise.Kind regards,