Surfers And Others Urged To Attend Groyne Project Public Meeting

Press Release

St Francis Bay Coastal Protections Scheme Public Meeting
Where: St Francis Links Clubhouse
When: Wednesday 29th January at 17:00

Groynes, Sand Pumping, Beach Nourishment

There will be a public meeting at the St Francis Links clubhouse on the 29th January on the proposed ‘Coastal Protection’ scheme for St Francis Bay, with environmental consultants CES in attendance.

This meeting will be of great interest to all interested parties, and surfers and ocean goers are all urged to attend and to get involved in the meeting.

All documentation can be found on this link: http://www.cesnet.co.za/st-francis-bay-coastal-protection-scheme-eia

New Beaches, New Waves

There is an excellent chance that, done correctly, the construction of groynes along the beach and the dredging of sand from the silted up Kromme River back onto the beaches will re-create the glorious beaches that were the biggest tourist attraction to St Francis Bay, and in the process provide beach facilities and facilitate beach and ocean-related pursuits, sports, hobbies and past times.

The 40 meters of sand and more that used to exist in St Francis Bay was a massive draw card to beach-goers, surfers and Hobie Cat owners. The proposed groyne construction project – one of the St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) Special Rates Area (SRA) projects – could bring all this back.

Saving The Spit

In addition the project will save the spit, that part of the beach that is currently unprotected. The constant erosion over the years has left that part of the beach depleted and just a few east swells combined with spring tide conditions will undoubtedly see its total destruction.

Kromme River Navigability

The Kromme River was initially identified as the best source for the sand needed to replenish the beaches. Since then the build-up of sand in the Kromme River has increasingly negatively affected the navigability of the
river. Restoring the navigability of the river also specifically forms part of the project.

Please try and attend the public meeting. The more input the better, and the more constructive criticism the greater the chances of pulling off this massive task to the satisfaction of stakeholders.

Surfers have much at stake here as well, and the surfers in the area are generally knowledgeable and aware of the vagaries of the ocean, the currents, the swell directions, the long-shore drift and the implications of groynes as well as wave potential.

You are all urged to attend the meeting on the 29th at The Links.

 

 

 

If we don’t try we will never know!

“There are as many experts on beach erosion as there are residents in St Francis Bay”.

With a public meeting due to be held at St Francis Links clubhouse on the 29th January with the proposed ‘Coastal Protection’ scheme for St Francis Bay with consulting engineers CES in attendance it seems appropriate to raise the subject that goes back over 22 years.

These at opening  of this post are the words of then Mayor, Councillor Jean Chaput when he introduced a proposal to arrest the beach erosion that was already evident 22 year.  A report in Our Times on 2nd October reported on  how then Mayor Chaput had suggested changes to an initial proposal was to build a R20 million groyne extending 450 metres off beach adjacent to the spit just south of the river estuary. Considered far too expensive the altered proposal was reduced to a smaller groyne costing in the region of R1 million  and possibly a second groyne to supplement the first if feasible. Although supported by the designer of the port, Alan Wynberg the proposal was doomed for the many expert could not agree.

The proposal was discussed in depth at public meetings where several other solutions were proposed including dredging the river mouth, beach nourishment using sand from the Sand River, a series of parallel groynes, wave blocks, manta mats and rock revetments. Attempting to motivate the concept the Mayor uttered words similar to those used in several presentation but present St Francis Property Owners NPC Chairman, Wayne Furphy – stated “the alternative is to do nothing!”

Roll on 17 years and the “Saving St Francis” presentation at the associations AGM in December 2015.

MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, WATCH WHAT HAPPENS or WONDER WHAT HAPPENED?”

Roll on a further four years and although professionals have been employed to best find a solution to best replenish the beaches there are those with absolutely no expertise or knowledge who will object and stop the process.  One antagonist in particular will surely find reasons to criticise whatever Furphy and his team and the employed engineers are trying to achieve and what the indisputable majority of members of the SRA members voted for, again, at their AGM in December.

The time has surely come to do what should have been done 22 year ago and get on with. Stop the talk and get it done! Every delay will make it all the more costly. And if it is not done what will it cost the town in terms of property values, tourism income and employment.

But maybe that is what those so objecting to the SRA’s efforts are all about. Maybe they want St Francis Bay to lose its attraction as a popular holiday destination. They object to all the SRA stands for CCTV cameras not being manned 24 / 7 (where in the world are they monitored 24/7 pray tell) or that CCTV footage is not available for all to see even though this is a requirement of SA Law.  That it has significantly helped reduced crime according to the security companies and SA Police Services is ignored. That the new traffic circle not only looks great but has significantly improved safety of motorists and pedestrians too is a waste and we should rather live with potholes just so long as they are not on our street.

Will in 20 years, another scribe write of how as a youngster he used to spend wonderful holidays in St Francis Bay but because the old farts way back then refusing to do anything about it, St Francis Bay was now just a collection of old decaying thatched roofs for old retired people unable to give their home away let alone sell them at a profit.

Detractors want guarantees that it will work and that it won’t be a waste of money. Who knows? Maybe it won’t work but maybe it will. If something isn’t tried it definitely won’t work of that we can be 100% assured.

Imagine Sir Edmund Hillary saying “I don’t think I can make it to the summit of Everest so I better not try”. Imagine a chemist on the edge of discovering a cure for cancer stopping because the drug may not work. Imagine being offered that drug that could cure your cancer, arthritis or other ailment but refusing it because it may not work. Nothing is guaranteed in life but the only way we have made so much progress in past two centuries is because people have tried.

You cannot win the lotto if you don’t have a ticket.

So before you write your comment on how the SRA is wasting your money, consider what will happen if nothing is done. Write rather on how you can support the efforts and let the whole town work for a better place to live.

 

Village gets together to remove the chains

This actually started off as a “GOOD DEED” story but with so many good souls involved in this wonderful example of how together we can achieve a better St Francis for all of us who live here we felt it deserved a page of it’s own.

The quote “It takes a village” is usually used in reference to raising a child but in this instance it appropriate to how a group of local business people came together and made a difference.

All too often following a report of a dog being knocked over on Tarragona, Facebook posts rebuke Sea Vista pet owners of not confining their animals. Whilst doubtful that these comments cause dog owners to tie up their dogs, owners are doing so of their own volition to prevent their pets roaming the township. The result is far too many animals are being left tied or chained to posts in sometimes appalling conditions often without shade or water. Most are probably unaware that it is illegal to tie /  chain a dog and to threaten them with such actions would do little for good community interaction.

Enter Susan Rae Fox of St Francis Animal Rescue on one of her many trips into Sea Vista to care for newly born pups, underfed lactating mothers or treating ill dogs and puppies.

On one of these outings into Sea Vista, Susan came across Flippy, owner of four beautifully conditioned and obviously well-loved Pitbull’s. As Flippy’s yard is unfenced there was no other way of confining them thus the tethers to prevent his dogs roaming,

After some negotiations with a very concerned and cooperative Flippy, two of the dogs were carted off to the vet to be sterilised but this hardly solved the problem for the dogs would still need to be tethered.  So a solution was sought and through the power of Facebook, Susan received support for her plea from several business people in St Francis.

With help, financial and in kind, Susan put together a team that have now cleaned up Flippy’s garden, composted and fertilised the ground, laid a lawn and finally fenced the property leaving the dogs not only a comfortable environment but also there is no longer a need to tether them.

Of course business cannot be expected to sponsor every similar incident but where there are other owners who could benefit from similar assistance there could be  financial commitment from the dog owner themselves with assistance in kind to make the improvements from both the Sea Vista community and business. Any ongoing to greening up of the township should be encouraged and projects such as this are certainly a start. There are already several gardening projects in place in Sea Vista and the more vegetable patches, neat and tidy gardens with lawns and trees will make for a healthier, safer living space for kids and dogs to grow up in.

So from Sue

“Thank you all those who are participating in our project to fence and grass the yard belonging to Flippy who owns four beautiful Pitbulls. These dogs have been removed from their chains, two have been sterilized and the other two will be sterilized next week. Thank you, Kate Meikle Menhennet and Bob Meikle – for your donation of fencing to keep Flippy’s four Pitbulls safely contained in their yard. Thanks Sarah-Jane Swanepoel and your team from Dune Ridge Country House for your donation of compost, horse-manure and water for the grass being planted today. And thanks to the Brent family, Les, Neil and Sharon Brent for your donation of six bags of compost. We so appreciate your kindness in assisting us with this project. Thanks, Kathy Brady, for this wonderful donation of Kikuyu grass laid by the landscaping team from Nick Argo‘s Roots Gardens. We are a little short of grass – but will be rectifying that next week. As a gift, the heavens opened up and the rain poured down, just as the grass was laid.”

St Francis Animal Rescue has now embarked upon a 2020 mission to remove chains from Sea Vista dogs. They will be educating owners on the side-effects of chaining these animals – muscle wastage, increased aggression, depression and frustration – and will be persuading owners to contribute towards fencing their yards to stop this behaviour. The simplest solution to prevent chaining, is to provide a secure environment for the dogs.
St Francis Animal Rescue is researching ways and means to affordably provide fencing for key areas where dogs are chained. All help with this endeavour will be greatly appreciated.

 

SRA/Surfer Get-Together Goes Down Well

St Francis Bay – a loose and impromptu meeting took place between members of the SRA, a few members of the St Francis Community, some surfers as well as representatives of the Seal Point Boardriders Club last week.

St Francis Bay – © Darren Peens

Groyne placements

This gathering was set up in order to discuss the proposed groyne placement, the outside reefs, the wave formations and the predominant ocean current direction and strength, with everyone throwing their information and their experience into the pool in a total and open sharing of information.

Seal Point Boardriders Club

With strong representation, The Boardriders Club exercises certain control over the surf spots from Seal Point to the Kromme River Mouth, mainly to ensure that anyone who wants to run a contest or contests does so through the correct channels and adhere to the local by-laws. The Seal Point Boardriders Club is also affiliated to Surfing South Africa, the national governing body of the sport, and recognized by The Government and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Surfing South Africa

“We support our affiliates, so we would support the decisions made by the Seal Point Boardriders Club Committee,” said Robin De Kock, General Manager for Surfing South Africa. “I think the development of groynes and the sand nourishment of Bruce’s Beauties would be wonderful for the sport of surfing and for surfers throughout the country.

Community

In a spirited conversation at the Anne Avenue car park, the surfers, locals, fishermen and SRA representatives had maps and diagrams out, were pointing out reefs and waves and surf spots and currents, and where the best waves break, as a crew of local groms headed out to get a few of the tiny lefts breaking in front of the car-park. A local homeowner who was watching the gathering, came down to introduce himself and give his point of view as well, which was pertinent and well received.  

The planning of the groynes and their location is crucial, and there will still be more open discussions on the matter going forward 

More on the SRA projects here – https://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/sra-projects/

Seal Point Boardriders Facebook Page here – https://www.facebook.com/SealPointBoardRidersClub/

Press Release

SFT Comment 17 Jan 2020 – R Suter

Children are the future, help build that future

“It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.”

Sea Vista Educational Support Group will be holding a meeting at 10h00 on today (Wednesday) morning at the church for anyone is interested in any aspect of this work.

For those who don’t know, this initiative has three main thrusts:

  1. Literacy is a huge problem in South African schools. Our volunteers give around 45 minutes of their time in the mornings to help small groups of Grade 1 to 3 pupils with their reading. We use a specific remedial programme and all materials are supplied.
  2. Numeracy/Arithmetic is another major problem, and becoming more urgent with the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which demands higher level logic. Here, we focus on Grades 4 to 7, with classes in the afternoons. We work mainly on the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – and trying to get the children to learn their tables.
  3. Raising money for a Teacher Support Fund. Unfortunately our teacher support fund is now quite low. Two teachers retired at the end of 2018 and the Education Department didn’t replace them. We sponsored the 2 replacements during 2019 and would like to continue or even increase this during 2020. This is where the rubber really hits the road – the teachers at this school have to teach more than 50 children per class. Just consider what this means, when some of the better resourced schools in the country try to limit their class sizes to 25, or at the very most, 30. At 50 pupils per class, teaching is more like crowd control.

We ask for your support for this initiative in 2020.

It is an initiative that recognises that the quality of the education our children receive will determine the kind of country we all live in. It is an initiative that recognises that our education system is broken but believes that through our actions, can help to fix it one child at a time.

How can you help?

  • Through sponsorship of teachers via our teacher support fund  – once off or regular donations are all very welcome. R100 per month from every family would be miraculous
  • By joining our literacy and numeracy support teams. No qualifications are necessary – if you are literate and numerate that’s good enough for us. If you travel extensively, join the club! We need all the help we can get, whenever we can get it!

For more information contact Dorothy Ker-Fox – dkf@telkomsa.net