Kouga Council gives St Francis’ deteriorating beach the Cold Shoulder

Is politics rearing it’s ugly head at the risk of destroying a lucrative cash cow?

About two years ago the well respected coastal engineering consultant group Worley Parsons was commissioned by the Kouga Municipality to do a report on the deteriorating state of the beach in St Francis Bay and to come up with suggestions and recommendations as to how the beach could be restored.

Since this report was submitted to Kouga Municipality in 26 February 2014, it has not yet been tabled in any Council meeting even though it has often appeared on the Agenda. Invariably it gets struck off by certain councillors who are totally unacceptable to the St Francis Bay community.

It is difficult to understand what motivates these actions as the beach is a critical element in attracting holiday makers and the gross deteriorating spit/dune near the Kromme River mouth safe-guards the total canal system..

Because of the delay further deteriorations to our beach are constantly taking place.   In 2015 the St Francis Bay Residents’ Association had to collect R400 000.00 to have a basic assessment conducted by a professional coastal engineering company. This is a praiseworthy endeavour by the local community who did not require the Municipality to settle this bill.

This basic assessment was requested by DEDEAT (Department of Environmental Affairs) so that repair work could be conducted to our existing revetments which are there predominantly to protect beach front properties.

The question has to be asked if politics is rearing its ugly head. Without an adequate beach the attraction of St Francis Bay as a holiday destination will diminish as will the value of properties. This will have a significant effect on the rates collection for our Municipality as well as employment in the region.

Surely Kouga Council should understand this urgent issue better than anybody so that St Francis bay can move forward.

Source: Cllr. Ben Rheeder