The public meeting for the Coastal Protection scheme for St Francis Bay took place at the St Francis Links on 29 January. It was well-attended, with over 100 people at the meeting, and there was a very strong presence of ocean-goers and ocean sport-people.
The environmental consultants CES delivered a thorough presentation, and the environmental data and impact therein was based around three basic elements: 1, the construction of the proposed groynes, 2, the sourcing of sand to replenish and nourish the beaches and 3, the delivery of the sand.
There was a healthy Q&A session immediately after the presentation, with a range of pertinent and well-articulated questions coming through from the floor, mainly asking some fairly basic questions about sand delivery, groyn placements and the construction material to be utilised in the building of the groynes, all of which were answered by CES. There were a number of possible solutions proposed with regards to available sand, as well as a few pertinent questions regarding the environmental impact that large-scale dredging will have on the Kromme, all clearly answered by CES.
There was also a string of questions aimed at CES that were of specific engineering details of which CES, as environmental consultants, were not able to answer in full, and these questions have been referred to the consulting engineers.
The positivity of the groyne construction to the local surf and ocean-going community was obvious, with an estimated 40 meters of reclaimed beach the projected result, and the obvious resultant benefits of beach reclaiming, and the community use of groynes.
The input from the surfers as well as from other members of the audience was that there is very little time left, and one more winter storm combined with a south swell and a spring high tide will clearly see the spit breached. While some people prefer to search for faults in the project, while at the same time offering no alternative solutions, there is a vast majority of community members who want the project to get going as soon as possible in order to save the spit, and to then continue to fix the beaches and turn St Francis back into a glorious beach-focused destination.
Deeds, not words, are going to get the project done.
Also read – If we don’t try we will never know!