Your Vote Counts so don’t waste it

Last years original SRA votes do not count – Please Re-VOTE

As the deadline for votes on the proposed 2018 SRA (Special Rates Area) approaches it really needs your vote to make it a fair process. Whether your vote is FOR or AGAINST the proposed SRA it is important that you cast your vote for this a democratic process.

PLEASE NOTE this is a whole new process. Your vote last year or the year before counts for nothing and you must re-cast your vote as it is a totally new proposal where the rate has dropped substantially by some 50%. If you are not aware of the new proposal you can read a synopsis below or the full proposal at

Full SRA-Proposal

Or should you want to delve deeper into the actual Business Plan then read

SRA Motivation & Business Plan

If you are not too sure whether your vote has been recorded or indeed if you have voted, you can check your vote on

Votes Received

St Francis Property Owners as appealed to all property owners in the demarcated area  (see map below) to vote as soon as possible as the voting closes on February 24th 2018.

SRA proposal: (Synopsis)

  1. SRA levy of 25% of property owners’ monthly/annual rates (reduced from the original 50%).
  2. The shortfall in revenue will be contributed from alternative sources ie Riparians, Kromme Joint River Committee, the Port, Kouga Municipality and donations
  3. The Demarcated area for the levy will include the Village and Canal areas. Santareme, St Francis on Sea, Port, Otters Landing, Industrial Sites and The Links could be included at a later stage if the property owners in these areas choose to participate
  4. The scope of projects and services include:
    • The restoration of the beach, spit and river (priority 1)
    • The repair and maintenance of sections of the arterial roads and parking areas to be limited to the Village centre and main intersections along with pedestrian and cycle tracks along main arterial roads (priority 2)
    • The installation of CCTV camera surveillance in the demarcated area (priority 3)
    • Rebuild of the arterial roads (priority 4)

Cross the Line interiors St Francis Bay

Spit photo comparison

Photos illustrates how the Spit is eroding

Photographer Stan Blumberg recently sent us an aerial photograph of the spit which clearly illustrates how it has eroded and how critical it is becoming to do something to arrest the erosion.

A recent petition signed by those concerned with the condition of the spit was lodged with the Kouga municipal manager who will, if he has not already done so, lodge these with the Department of the Environmental Affairs (DEDEAT). Hopefully DEDEAT will jump start the approval of the submissions to save the spit rather than having the application gather dust for the next year or more.

DEDEAT stopped the St Francis Bay Riparians from depositing sand dredged from the river on the seaside of the spit, which was having a positive result, but allowed the sand to be deposited on the landward side. As can be seen from the photo this clearly isn’t working so maybe if DEDEAT can reverse their decision and possibly it will buy a little time until the proposed solution can be implemented.

For those who may have missed the first two  public meetings on 20th December, 3rd January  where the St Francis Property Owners association presented details on the proposed SRA a third public meeting will be held tomorrow (11th January) at 5:30pm at St Francis Links. If you need more information on the proposed SRA  before casting your vote it will be worthwhile spending aan hour ro listen to what is being proposed.

SFPO  has introduced an online voting form on their website should you prefer to cast your vate, YES or NO, on the proposed SRA. The form can be found on their website – http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/

 

Season almost over

Season almost over but time to start thinking about St Francis Bay’s future

Although the great exodus is particularly noticeable by the number of boats being towed in a direction away from the canals, both the village and Cape St Francis still remain pretty well populated with holidaymakers. With the schools starting far later this year it certainly has given us the benefit of an extended holiday season that will have benefitted the shops and hospitality businesses.

One of the biggest problems during the holidays is the congestion on our roads. It may be unavoidable and it  can be frustrating at times but no matter the frustration the rules of the road are still there to be obeyed. Of major concern and certainly something St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) has recognised is St Francis Drive itself. It is extremely narrow for a major thoroughfare and come holiday time both cyclists and pedestrian are cramped onto its narrow confines, constantly in danger of being knocked over by a speeding motorist. The speed limit is 50K but few seem to care and especially Kouga Traffic who are conspicuous by their absence, not only along St Francis Drive but around the village in general and it is a miracle that no one has been injured this year.

In SPFO Chairman Wayne Fyfie’s address to property owners at the Links on Wednesday 3rd January he highlighted plans for the road improvements in the new proposedSRA that has just been launched by SFPO. Although there will be insufficient  funds to totally widen and rebuild St Francis Drive, there are plans to construct a bicycle track / pedestrian walkway from Seaglades Drive on the canals running the entire length of St Francis drive although initially it should at least reach the CBD.  Also on the cards are plans to tidy up the parking areas from opposite the spar centre right through to the Blue Bottle bottle store. At the moment this is chaos in season and a little planning will go a long way to improving the entire area including pedestrian crossings and intersections. Bruce Brooker has submitted a rather natty drawing of an intersection (see below). Details of the new SRA proposal at the reduced rate of 25% can be viewed on the property owners proposal on the SFPO website.

The major intersections are also on the plans particularly the roads intersecting with St Francis Drive and Lyme Roads north & south.

Having scaled back the proposed SRA from the initial 50% proposed last year to the 15% in the new proposal and to a far smaller area of St Francis there will not be the funds to do all that was proposed last year but what is on the plans will certainly improve St Francis aesthetically and improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

It is thus interesting to read comments from readers that because they don’t live near the beach nor CBD within the demarcated area that is subject of the proposed SRA, that they should, as with Santareme, be excluded and not form part of the SRA.  SFPO has explained at length the reason for excluding the Santareme , Links and other areas but it seems some just cannot accept reality or they just have bothered to read the proposal. It truly is not a matter of gerrymandering but rather being realistic and practical.

That St Francis is losing its beach is FACT, ask any of our recent visitors. The beach, along with the spit, are an absolute priority and St Francis Bay cannot afford to lose  any more of the coastline to the sea. Possibly those who feel they should not contribute to the beach and spit could at least think about your contribution going towards the roads and the safety of others in the village.

Then again maybe they will start to worry when the sea eventually encroaches onto St Francis Drive destroying most of the golf course and having to shop in Spar wearing waders. Maybe opportunity for a fresh fish counter – “catch while you shop”!

Bruce Brooker's drawing of intersection

 

Property Owners Association trigger SRA Vote

St Francis Property Owners launch SRA Vote

Following the successful meeting held to introduce property owners to the renewed details of the Special Rates Area the association has released the following press release . Full details of the proposal are available on the SFPO website and if you are not fully aware of what the SRA entails it makes for some good reading this weekend. All the details along with a voting form are avaiable on the website http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za.

St Francis property owners within the demarcated area (Village and Canal areas) are being asked to re-vote on the revised SRA Proposal which the St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) presented at two Public Meetings at The Links on 20th December and January 3rd. The votes cast in 2017 are not applicable as the

Kouga Municipality revised its SRA By-Law and Policy (gazetted on 29th December) and the SFPO revised its SRA proposal.

New SRA proposal:

  1. SRA levy of 25% of property owners’ monthly/annual rates (reduced from the original 50%).
  2. The shortfall in revenue will be contributed from alternative sources ie Riparians, Kromme Joint River Committee, the Port, Kouga Municipality and donations
  3. The Demarcated area for the levy will include the Village and Canal areas. Santareme, St Francis on Sea, Port, Otters Landing, Industrial Sites and The Links could be included at a later stage if the property owners in these areas choose to participate
  4. The scope of projects and services include:
    • The restoration of the beach, spit and river (priority 1)
    • The repair and maintenance of sections of the arterial roads and parking areas to be limited to the Village centre and main intersections along with pedestrian and cycle tracks along main arterial roads (priority 2)
    • The installation of CCTV camera surveillance in the demarcated area (priority 3)
    • Rebuild of the arterial roads (priority 4)

VOTING – there are several methods available for voting. Vote via:

  1. SMS: We will send all property owners, for whom we have cell phone numbers, an SMS inviting you to vote. You can reply by entering your Id number and your vote (YES or No). If you haven’t received an SMS request by 12 January  and would like to take advantage of this simple voting method, please send your cell phone number and erf to contact@sfbresidents.org
  2. SFPO Website Voting system at :    http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/
  3. Manual voting form:
  • Available on the SFPO website or at the SFPO office at 115 St Francis Drive, and a copy
  • It is also included below.for your convenience
  • You can scan or photograph (with your cell phone) the completed voting form and send it to the SFPO via WhatSapp or SMS on 0827775624, or via email to contact@sfbresidents.org
  • Alternatively you can drop it off at our office.

The re-voting process must be completed by February 24th 2018 and we urge all property owners to give this proposal their urgent attention and submit their vote as soon as possible.

A third public meeting is planned for January 11th 2018 (17h30 at The Links) for those St Francis property owners and members of the business community who may not have had an opportunity to attend the earlier meetings.

 

Positive meeting on SRA

St Francis Bay residents respond positively to proposed SRA

St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) chairman Wayne Furphy addressed a far larger crowd yesterday afternoon at the second public meeting on the proposed St Francis Bay Special Rates Ares (SRA) and what a positive crowd in proved to be. Question from the floor were mainly very positive with some attendees almost suggesting they would not be averse to a higher rate than the suggested 25% should it be necessary later. To avoid confusion, the rate has been set at 25% for ten years and cannot be increased..

Furphy again stressed that residents in the area south of Harbour road (Santareme et al) were not being excluded from the new SRA as a form of punishment but rather because of the urgency of the beach and spit and that a decision had to be made to get the ball rolling. He once again explained the problem of securing votes, yes or no, in this area because of the large number of vacant plots, many of which seemed to have been abandoned by owners as rates hadn’t been paid on some for years.

The door is certainly not shut for those residents presently excluded from the SRA joining this proposed SRA at a later stage or indeed setting up their own. Obviously infrastructure and services that have become priorities in these areas differ from those on the canals and village.

On the subject of CCTV Furphy also left the window open explaining that excluding the Santareme area only saved around 25% of the cost of installing a CCTV system in the area. If a solution could be found to have these residents included a comprehensive CCTV system would be infinitely more effective (he suggested it would cost the excluded region around R80 a month per home to install a system covering the entire region.

In closing Furphy explained the extremely tight timeline required to have the SRA approved and he appealed to all present to get their vote, yes or no, in as soon a possible to ensure all deadlines were met to process the SRA.

For those who may have missed both these public meetings a third meeting will be held at The Links on Thursday 11th January at 5:30 pm. All residents who haven’t yet attended one of these meetings really should make every effort to hear what is being planned.

CCTV for St Francis Bay

Green icons indicates camera placements with those in shaded area excluded from initial proposal unless funding from greater Santareme area can be secured

Post misses SRA point?

Maybe some are missing the point of the revised SRA

A post on Facebook yesterday regarding the new proposed SRA (Special Rates Area) seems to miss the point in that as with many of Donald Trump’s tweets it ignores reality. Whilst Trump denies global warming and sees no reason to take action on carbon emissions, this post seems to dismiss the urgency of Spit and Beach erosion.   The recent petition calling for action from DEDEAT and Council was to accelerate action for both these bodies as with SFPO, realise the potential disaster should urgent action not be taken.

Certainly nobody can determine a 100% solution to saving the beach or spit but experts on beach erosion are being consulted and different solutions being considered by all concerned.  To sit and do nothing simply because there is no guaranteed plan seems somewhat like Caesar watching Rome burn.

As for creating dissension in the St Francis Bay community one would suggest many of those who voted against the SRA last year that don’t reside on the canals or in the village most probably sighed with great relief on hearing they would not have to find extra money each month. One would suggest that SFPO’s intention is certainly not to split a community but to rather ensure those more directly affected by certain criteria can be masters of their own fate without asking others who feel the spit and beach has nothing to do with them and as such are reluctant to contribute.

But reading between the lines it may be the author of the post is more concerned that the areas outside the demarcated canal and village area won’t form part of the CCTV plans proposed by SFPO. It goes without saying that if these areas are not contributing to the fund to cover the CCTV those who are would be us unhappy sponsoring those not paying.   To state that it is “punishment for previously not voting the right way” really seems the author is ignoring the real problems of the “empty plot” problem that almost makes a fair vote impossible.

Rather than sulking about being left out of the CCTV loop possibly the way forward would be to engage with SFPO rather than constantly undermining their efforts. There must be a way to extend the CCTV to the entire St Francis Bay it surely is just a matter of those not participating in the SRA finding a way to participate. Engagement rather than mud slinging would seem the best way forward.

The more people paying toward a CCTV solution would no doubt bring costs down but the drawback would possibly be getting  50% +1 property owners in the excluded areas unless all the plot owners can be found and then convinced that their empty plot needs to be watched by a CCTV camera.

Don’t miss the Public Meeting at the Links at 4:00pm this afternoon (3rd January)