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.

 

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

More Answers on the SRA

The St Francis Property Owners Non Profit Company (NPC) have posted another in their series of answers to questions on their website.  These questions are those put to the NPC by what has become known as the “Group of 30” mostly members of the Concerned Residents Association (CRA) headed by Angela Cadman who are opposed to the work being done by the SRA.

Interesting to see residents in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth are calling for a Special Rates Area (SRA). It won’t be Port Elizabeth’s first but it surely proves that other communities realise the only way they will fix their particular precincts is to pay for it themselves. Possibly the CRA should consider their legal action against Kouga municipality as “unnecessary, fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

So to the answers to the questions  posed by the ‘Group of 30’

Questions 1 & 2 available on previous news post

Question 3:

Why was the change in the Business Plan priorities not submitted for approval to SRA Members at an Ordinary Members Meeting?    

Our SRA Business Plan showed the major road intersections as the starting point for the arterial roads restoration. The presentation we gave at the December 2018 Members meeting shows the Village Entrance project as the first roads project.

Question 4:

Why was the change not also referred to Kouga Council as per the prescripts in the Kouga Property Rates Policy?

There were no change in business priorities. We do not need to go back to KLM if we do decide to change priorities, as this is a management decision. We would have to go back if we changed the fundamental scope of the SRA eg replaced arterial road restoration with fixing potholes.

Question 5:

We understand that there is great dissatisfaction with the St Francis Bay Entrance Project, which is generally deemed as unnecessary, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The Entrance road is our busiest road. We chose this as our start to our work on our arterial roads, and this intersection required a rebuild of the road as well as including embayments to improve pedestrian and traffic safety at our busiest intersection. The Links was also willing to contribute to this project, which is important because the levy raises some 50% of our total funding requirements.

Question 6:

The operation of the CCTV System falls far short of what was initially promised by SFPO. Have you conducted follow-up meetings with SRA Members to address these problems?

The CCTV project was presented in detail at our December 2018 AGM and was also endorsed. The CCTV cameras met both our budget and selection criteria overseen by a group representing the Security industry in St Francis Bay. The cameras are current technology with a strong emphasis on intelligent computer analytics that alert control room monitoring agents. This is the direction CCTV surveillance is moving in.

We look forward to publishing some more Q&A’s.

SRA answers questions posed by CRA members

One of the gripes those regularly by those who submit comment deriding the SRA committee and the work they as doing to improve St Francis Bay is that that don’t answer questions. Well a brand new post on the St Francis Property Owners website NEWS page has addressed this complaint with written answers posed by a group associated with the Concerned Residents Association (CRA) who seem so intent on not seeing SRA continue with the improvements the village so desperately needs to retain its value as a place to live and importantly, own property.

In a letter to the SRA, CRA Chair Angela Cadman asked the following two questions of the SRA committee.

The following has been copied directly off the SFPO website with a little editing and covers questions that were asked regarding the recent Roadshows held in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth

Question One:

Why was there an urgent need for the Stakeholder Roadshows seeing there is no significant progress to report on. It is known by all that we must wait for DEDEAT approval before action can be taken on the Beach/Spit/River. Is this not fruitless and wasteful expenditure?

The SRA has answered

The SRA had been asked by members in Joburg and PE to meet with them, as some of them will not be able to attend the AGM. We presented what we will present at the AGM on 17 December at The Links – https://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/2019-annual-general-meeting/.

The members obviously also wanted to understand the current status of the SRA, and in particular the resolutions proposed by this group of 30 members – https://www.facebook.com/StFrancisCRA.

Many out of town members see this for what it is, an unsubstantiated attack on the SRA, its leadership and implications for the substantial donation investment already committed to the SRA projects. None of the directors of the SFPO NPC have ever claimed any expense from the SRA. There was no SRA expenditure on these roadshow meetings. Members in Joburg and PE generously organised the venues out of their own pockets. The SFPO NPC directors fund their own time and expenses entirely out of their own pockets and have never claimed a single personal expense while on SRA business.

Probably important to note here is that not only do the committee pay their own tavel and accommodation but they give freely of their time, and a lot of their time, to try and make St Francis a better place to live.

The second question!

Why did you exclude the property owners residing in the Village and Canals from the Roadshow? Are they not stakeholders? Are you lobbying for votes before the AGM?    

And the SRA’s answer!

The SRA has not excluded the local property owners, because we expect them to either attend the AGM or talk to us individually or in groups if they so choose, which we have done with many local members. They are clearly stakeholders, but we have to reach out regularly to the 85% of property owners who do not live in St Francis Bay. Yes we are lobbying for votes. We have been accused of stealing from the SRA. Why should we not defend ourselves against these malicious and unwarranted accusations against the directors of the SFPO NPC? The general feedback has been one of disbelief and anger at these accusations.

It appears more answers will be forthcoming shortly so as to keep members of the SRA well informed before the NPC’s AGM on the 17th December at 5:00pm at St Francis Links clubhouse.

 

SFPO Article can be viewed at https://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/sra-questions-answers/

Letter to editor from Chairman of CRA

25th November 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor,

I have been following various posts on your St Today Francis online newsletter.

I would like to clarify – The CRA is not the group questioning the ‘doings’ of the SFPO-NPC directors, but a group of 30 members of the NPC  (members by virtue of the fact that they pay the SRA levy.)

The CRA has legal case against the Kouga Municipality only.

Angela Cadman
Chairman – Concerned Residents Association.