‘Walk before you run’, ‘a journey of a 1000 miles starts with the one step’. There are so many similar sayings and possibly this is where the presenters of the 5-year plan possibly erred. No one can argue that Messrs. Furphy and Gray put together a well-researched plan but maybe, just maybe, they were too ambitious in their enthusiasm to help. Possibly they were looking at scaling Mount Everest before first climbing Kilimanjaro.
As important as the river, beach and spit are, surely they are the responsibility of National and Provincial Government. Whatever action is required to solve the collective beach situation this has to be passed and approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs and any action has to be in accordance with whatever the findings of EIA dictate and that could possibly run into many more millions than suggested in the 5-year plan. Certainly the SFBRA must continue to badger whoever they must to ensure the matter is dealt with as a priority but at the end of the day it really is up to either National or Provincial Government to rectify. If not then maybe the reconstruction of the Sand River bridge too, will soon appear on the list of services that cash strapped residents must end up paying for.
Before continuing, whatever money is raised from the St Francis Bay community to improve the village, surely does not absolve the council from continuing to provide services and allocating budget to ensure that these services are properly delivered. Whatever money is raised through whatever means is finally agreed on, this money should be used, for lack of a better word, to “beautify” St Francis Bay and make it a better place to live.
So what are the things that residents can reasonably consider as affordable? Take away the costs river, beach and spit and we are left with
Cost of Infrastructure Repair & Maintenance
- Roads (30kms) = R19.2m
- Stormwater drains repairs (existing) = R400k
- Stormwater drains new (budget) = R1.5m
- Sewerage vehicles (tbc) = R1m (This is the responsibility of Council)
- Sewerage line extensions =?
Total (5 years) = R22.1m
Let’s call this “Project Kilimanjaro”!
The following is a rather uneducated suggestion but then too are some the figures submitted in the 5-year plan. We look forward to someone well versed in financial matter to possibly take this on as a pet project and investigate this further.
Something to start with.
Let us say the average value of houses in St Francis bay is R3.5 million – (R3.5m x no of properties x rates) or R3.5 x 1550 x 0.6% = R32.5 million – a little less than the R37million that was suggested at the presentation as what St Francis Bay pay Kouga in rates each year but we are ignoring business and industrial property for the moment. Now if each homeowner were to be asked to contribute just 0.12% of the value of their property over a period of 5-years the calculation would look like this:-
3.5m x 0.12% x 5 = R x 5 = R32.5 million – enough to cover the upgrades (R22,1million) to all the services suggested in the 5-year plan with money to spare to ensure the services are properly maintained into the future.
So what does it mean to the man in the street? A simple table!
A very simplistic assessment certainly but maybe as stated earlier, possibly someone qualified in this area could take this on as a project to more accurately calculate the sort of contribution that would be necessary and pass it on to SFBRA, who knows, it may assist them. And it could cost residents substantially less if business and industrial property rates are factored into the equation.
Certainly it would still be sensible to register St Francis Bay as a SID but the figures could be a lot less “scary” than a double rates bill every month that seemed to be the suggestion on the table at the presentation of the 5-year plan.