Two Luxury Yachts destroyed in St Francis fire

Nexus Yacht fire

Black smke told St Francis residents that another fire was threatening – Photo courtesy Craig Briggs

Nexus Yachts fire

The mangle aftermath of what was once a luxury yacht – Photo courtesy Craig Briggs

Two yachts under construction at Nexus Yachts in St Francis Bay, each valued in region of R30 million  were destroyed in yesterday’s fire. The cause of the fire has not yet been established but thanks to Kouga Fire, the St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group (SFDVG) and Nexus’ own personnel the fire contained before it could spread causing more havoc..

Private Care Ambulance Services was called to assess those fighting the fire due to the possibly having inhaled the possibly toxic thick black smoke from the fire. Fortunately no injuries were reported and Kouga Fire and SFDVG stood down.

Apart from the tw yachts that were destroyed the two shed in which the yachts were being buil was aere also destroyed. If there can be any good news from such a devatsting event, none of the other yachts under different stages of consruction were damaged.

Nexus Yacht shed destroyed

Destroyed shed – Photo courtesy Craig Briggs

FOSTER – 30 years of supporting St Francis’ Heritage

Friends of St Francis Nature Reserves

For many years, the membership of FOSTER remained fairly static at around 100 members which brought in around R30 000 of the R100 000 needed to maintain the reserves. The committee is pleased to report that for 2021 membership as at the end of June has increased to 189 members meaning that a 100% increase for this year is certainly attainable, (we do have an ambitious target of 300). Foster would like to thank all those who renewed their membership and welcome and thank the new members that have joined Foster. This means that that half of the annual running costs can now be covered by the membership fees generated.

A really positive development has been the number of new members from St Francis Bay who have joined and who realize that the reserves are for all who live in the greater St Francis area. We encourage everyone to use them and of course to become FOSTER members so that these unique and important reserves can continue to be an asset for all in our greater community.

Foster has always been dependent on donations and fund raising to cover the full costs and has been able to raise additional funds for special projects, meaning that the FOSTER reserves remain largely alien free with a network of well-maintained paths and trails for the use of our community to walk, run and cycle on. With COVID fund raising has been difficult, however there have been some remarkably generous donors who have come to the fore with one new generous member donating R50 000 meaning that our running cost will be covered for 2021 allowing FOSTER to consider tackling some additional projects if we are able to get some fund-raising initiatives in place despite the pandemic.

Those using the various paths will no doubt have noticed the widening of the path between St Francis-on-Sea and Cape St Francis making it safe and easy to use for both walkers and cyclists. Foster would like to thank the St Francis Bay Cycling club for their 50% contribution to the costs of the clearing and widening of this important path in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. We have also been able to now maintain the path leading to the lookout point next to the beacon in this reserve which offers the most spectacular views stretching across the two bays stretching from the lighthouse to Jeffrey’s Bay and the b Cockscomb Peak in the north. Maintenance is ongoing and once complete, will be named the Two Bay Trail and should be a must-to-do, for all able-bodied residents and visitors alike.

Through FOSTER’s persistent efforts, it was able to arrange for the Working on Fire to clear a firebreak in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve bordering the CSF houses, and for the Kouga Municipality to remove the cuttings.  

Other paths and trails continue to be maintained including the dedicated cycle paths in the reserves by Dave Bowmer and his team. The St Francis Bay Cycle Club has agreed in principle to fund 50% of the cost of maintaining the pedestrian trails shared by the cyclists. Having a good relationship with the Cycling Club is important to FOSTER. Therefore, we have created a dedicated portfolio on the committee to ensure that this relationship is nurtured and maintained. The Cycling Club remains fully responsible for maintaining the dedicated path in the Seal Bay Nature Reserve around the Lighthouse.

The 4 reserves that Foster looks after cover about 300 hectares which is home to shrublands of fynbos with patches of thicket, and even forest trees. Whilst plants seldom elicit the same kind of response in people as animals do, our reserves contain some rare locally endemic plants well worth preserving for the current and future generation. As an example, an endemic sub species of sea lavender grows in the Seal Point nature reserve that has not even been cataloged yet. There are of course animals to be seen as well in the reserves, ranging from bushbuck, caracul, Cape genet, bushpigs and otters to name a few, the bird life is also abundant and many a birder as been able to boast of rare sightings especially in the Seal Bay nature reserve.

Most people are not aware that when they walk the paths around the lighthouse that that are in the Seal Point Nature Reserve. So, whether a regular visitor or a first timer, please consider supporting the work that FOSTER does to maintain these special reserves and consider becoming a member or making a donation (or both). It’s just R300 per year for a family or R200 per annum for individual membership, details on our website at foster.org.za. You can either do an EFT or pay via snapscan.

Remember the FOSTER-managed reserves are for all to use and enjoy and are not the preserve of the residents of Cape St Francis, the Committee or any other groupings, but we your membership fees to continue with the work that FOSTER an PBO does.

Shared cycle/pedestrian trail through CSF Nature Reserve widened to safely accommodate both types of users, and for firefighting access. The maintenance vehicle shown is removing the cuttings.

Cycle groove needing repair in the Seal Point reserve

Widening of shared cycle/pedestrian trail in Irma Booysen nature reserve

Resurfaced shared cycle/pedestrian on shortcut between driveway to Johnson’s carpark and Queen of the West

Municipality to install Water-Flow Restrictors

Kouga Municipality - logo

KOUGA Municipality is set to start installing water-flow restrictor discs in the homes of high-water users across the region – should their water consumption not reduce significantly.

This as the combined levels of the dams that supply water to the region totalled 9.44% on July 6 as per the latest information from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The two biggest dams, Kouga and Impofu, stood at 4.2% and 14.38% respectively. The Churchill Dam was at 14.84%, and the small Loerie Dam balancing at 28.85%.

“If the water usage is not reduced significantly by the end of July, water-flow restrictors will be implemented across the region,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

“These meters allow a water supply to each household until the daily limit of 1 000 litres per household is reached. The meter then automatically turns off the water supply until 05:00 the next morning.”

Hendricks continued should this fail to be effective; the municipality will be forced to implement strict water rationing. “This means that water will only be available from the taps for a few hours per day and will be shut off for the remainder of the day,” he said.

“Any planned restrictions will be carefully considered and proper consultation with affected parties will take place before water curtailing measures are implemented.”

Meanwhile, the municipality has been working around the clock to implement measures to circumvent the prospect that the Kouga region run out of water.

This includes the possibility of connecting additional viable boreholes across the area to the various water treatment works, while the drilling of exploratory boreholes is also being investigated. The municipality is, furthermore, in the process of erecting five 5 000l designated water points in Hankey to ensure residents have access to clean drinking water.

“As part of the municipality’s efforts to manage water usage, municipal taps are turned off at public open spaces, all municipal buildings will be equipped with rainwater harvesting tanks, and stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that the restricted allocation of water – 50l per person per day – is adhered to,” said Hendricks. “The municipality is also working with law enforcement to enforce compliance.”

Residents are remined that the current water restrictions prohibit the connection of a hose pipe or an irrigation system to taps supplying water from the municipal system.

Pools may not be filled or topped up, and the washing of paved areas, roofs and walls with municipal water are also not allowed.

“Every one of us has a role to play in preventing Kouga’s taps from running dry – we must do all we can to save water,” said Hendricks. “Every single one of us should be taking active measures to save water in our daily lives.”

SAVE WATER NOW

Vote for St Francis for ‘Town Of The Year’

Kouga Municipality - logo

CAST your vote for the greater St Francis.

Vote for St Francis in Dorp van die Jaar

The Greater St Francis Bay is in the running for the coveted kykNET Kwêla Town of the Year title for 2021 – after being named the Eastern Cape winner. Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks (second from right), is ready to cast his vote. With him are the Kwêla team Michael Snyman (sound), Darren Montague (camera), Chris Thompson (director), Therese Bam (presenter) and Joshua Apollis (camera).

The greater St Francis is in the running for the coveted kykNET Kwêla Town of the Year title for 2021. The town was named the winner of the Eastern Cape round of the annual competition – beating two of the province’s well-known towns, Rhodes and Komani, to claim the regional title.

St Francis Tourism Office Manager, Hantie van der Westhuizen who is the driving force behind the entry into the competition, said they were elated to have been named the Eastern Cape finalists. “The support from all sectors of our community has simply been fantastic. We would like to thank everyone who nominated the town,” she said.

Van der Westhuizen encourages all residents – local and national – to throw their weight behind St Francis.

“Let’s take hands and ensure that St Francis is the overall winner of the competition,” she said. “Collectively, we can win this competition and draw more tourists and investors to our region.

“This is a beautiful part of the Kouga – and the world – with lots to do and see for visitors. It boasts a beautiful canal system surrounded by picturesque houses in a uniform building style – black roofs and white walls – while the century old Seal Point Lighthouse can be found among the fynbos and wild waves in Cape St Francis.

“Port St Francis, South Africa’s only private working harbour, is situated in St Francis Bay and home to the squid industry. The squid, locally referred to as chokka, is mainly exported to Europe.

“Not to forget the ancient fish traps in Oyster Bay. You will have to ask a local where to find it.”

According to Van der Westhuizen, a variety of coffee shops, artisan cafes and restaurants will satisfy everyone’s taste buds, while accommodation varies from backpackers to self-catering establishments and five-star guesthouses.

Meanwhile, Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, has called on all residents of the Eastern Cape to support St Francis.

“We are proud that St Francis has been chosen to represent the Eastern Cape and would like to appeal to everyone in the province to support the town,” he said.

To vote

The national winner will receive R1 million’s worth of free marketing through KykNET, while Kwêla will also host a massive celebration, featuring top artists and entertainment for the whole family, in the winning town later this year.

Voting is easy – simply SMS St Francis to 33157. SMS/s cost R1.50 each and a maximum of 30 SMSs per cell phone will be counted. The town that receives the most SMSs, will be crowned the Town of the Year winner.

Voting opens on Sunday, July 11 and closes at 12 noon on Friday, July 16.

For more information, contact Van der Westhuizen at 083 294 2211.

 

 

Another reason to save water (as if you need one)

Those who have lived or visited St Francis since way back when will attest to Chris Cowling’s remarks on another reason to save water.

A reminder to all about the quality of our borehole water. Most of the permanent residents that reside in the Greater St Francis were not here when most of our domestic water came from boreholes. The quality of borehole water is very different to that of the Churchill/Elandsjagt water we receive now.

Firstly, our borehole water contains very high levels of iron, manganese and calcium. Not only does this affect the taste, but it has detrimental and damaging effects on geysers, washing machines and dishwashers. It can also result in the staining of clothes, due to the oxidation of the iron in the water, when applied to clothes. These stains are impossible to remove. You will also get staining on baths, washbasins shower walls and toilet bowls.

Scaling is going to occur in geysers and kettles. Geyser elements and thermostats will have to be, periodically replaced.

These are just a few of the issues we can expect once we are back to utilizing our boreholes.

Therefore it is vital that we save as much water as we can.

DON’T BE A DRIP. SAVE EVERY DROP

SAVE WATER NOW

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION – WAKE UP ST FRANCIS BAY AND CAPE ST FRANCIS!

Kouga Municipality - logo

 

 

 

 

That is the message issued jointly by Kouga Municipality and

St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group

SAVE WATER NOW

REALITY: WATER RESTRICTORS WILL SOON BE INSTALLED AND IF YOU DON’T REDUCE CONSUMPTION DRASTICALLY, THERE WILL BE WATER RATIONING BY OCTOBER 2021 OR SOONER!

This is an urgent appeal to all St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis residents to  immediately cut back on water consumption. Your extremely high and continued water use will result in water rationing being implemented which means that water will only be available from taps for a few hours per day and will be shut off for the remainder of the day. Amongst all regions in the Kouga Local Municipality, St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are the highest water users.

Potable water for the Greater St Francis area emanates from the Churchill / Impofudams via the Metro pipeline with a take-off near the R102 between Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay. The Kouga Local Municipality formed a Drought Mitigation Committee (DMC) which meets weekly, and to broadcast the seriousness of this dire situation, the local St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group (DVG) was co-opted.

Imagine the influx of visitors in December, welcomed to our beautiful area, with no water in our pipelines. This is a real! And this message is critical.

With all potential solutions being investigated, and professionals and experts on board, and with all measures in place, every household, business and contractor must reduce consumption by at least half, to close in on a stable water supply.

Kouga Municipality confirmed during last week’s DMC meeting, attended by the Executive Mayor, the Municipal Manager, councillors, senior officials and the DVG, that the current average consumption in our area is as much as 2,5 ML per day and reaches as high as 7,9 ML per day during the December festive period. Consumption levels must be driven down to meet the current supply and ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!

Development increases the municipal rates base which is desperately needed to improve our beautiful area. Whilst the recent upswing in property sales and development is welcomed and positive for our economy, it threatens water security even further. It would be disastrous to our local economy if  development were to be curbed because there is no water.

The Municipality is urgently assessing infrastructure and are putting the following measures in place:

  • All municipal buildings will be equipped with rainwater harvesting tanks;
  • The St Francis fire station will be equipped with 180 000 litres of water storage for use in the event of a fire;

Construction companies will receive personal municipal messages to implore them to minimize wastage on sites. Construction sites are some of the highest users of water in our area;

Property owners with high water use accounts will receive warnings directly from the office of the Municipal Manager;

  • All viable boreholes are being made operational as a matter of urgency, but in some cases, the water quality is undesirable;
  • Lessons are taken from best practice in other drought-stricken areas such as the Western Cape;
  • Flow restrictors will be installed in individually metered households using more than 15kl per month;

The Municipality has embarked on desalination option investigations, although the necessary EIA’s and approvals process turns this into a longer-term solution. Council will call special meetings to expedite this.At the recent DMC meetings, the following points were made:

  • The Greater St Francis is currently totally reliant on the Churchill and Impofu dam system for domestic water. This dam levels are at 17.85% and 14.53% respectively;
  • The Municipality successfully established two boreholes at St Francis Links, with full cooperation;
  • They are also identifying other potential borehole sites but some areas may not be viable due to the poor quality of water;
  • To avoid Day Zero, water consumption must reduce as soon as possible to avoid water rationing;
  • Water rationing will cause damage to the existing reticulation infrastructure,and this could be even more detrimental;
  • Each property owner, whether residential or business, must take responsibility and are encouraged to procure rainwater harvesting systems,connected to your sewer systems etc;
  • Bulk water consumers will be expected to formulate and submit water saving mitigation plans to the municipality.
  • Winter rains are predicted to be below average but will be welcomed. It will however only buy more time. It will not alleviate the drought nor water scarcity for the foreseeable future;
  • It is a reality that Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay will experience dry taps if each person doesn’t immediately reduce consumption. Therefore, no potable water may be used to irrigate nor fill pools, wash cars and the like;
  • Please investigate leaks at your homes, especially if you don’t live here permanently.

With all municipal efforts to augment the water supply as much as possible, supplies will not meet a 100% supply capacity necessary for water security. 

Households are only permitted 15KL per month, yet most in Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay are averaging over 30KL per month.

THE ONLY IMMEDIATE SOLUTION IS TO REDUCE YOUR CONSUMPTION BY AT LEAST 50%.

The alternative is to force property owners to do so, by increasing tariffs, installing restrictors and the undesirable water rationing until the Greater St Francis reaches the targeted 15KL household consumption level. Apathy and stating that you are entitled and can simply afford to pay for more water, contributes to this crisis.

WE URGE YOU TO EDUCATE YOUR DOMESTIC STAFF, MANAGING AGENTS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS. LET’S ALL REDUCE CONSUMPTION NOW TO AVOID DAY ZERO.

SAVE WATER NOW