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“I have lived in St Francis, when I haven’t been traveling overseas, for some 15 years. I have been a supporter of the idea of a St Francis Property Owners Association ever since it was first proposed.
Anyone who understands the hierarchy of needs can see why we are way down the list of the Kouga Municipality’s necessities, even if we do pay some of the highest rates in the land.
A village of what could easily be perceived as luxury second homes will never be high on this local council’s agenda.
Hence a ring fenced extra rate to maintain and improve the wonderful and truly inspired vision of St Francis has to be a good idea.
However, despite their integrity, diligence and hard work I do wonder if the current committee are really doing themselves any favours. The problem is what they have done so far does not look particularly attractive.
Frankly it’s uninspired. It’s dull and dreary.
Take the circle and its environs at the entrance to our village. It may well be very functional but it is hardly aesthetically pleasing.
I think everyone would agree that even the traffic circles in Jeffrey’s Bay, a town hardly known to be an architectural gem, still currently look far more attractive and alluring than our latest efforts.
A bit of thoughtful landscaping could make a hell of a difference.
Currently the entrance to the Links to the right of the circle is far more inviting than the entrance to the left to St Francis.
Go back down the road a bit and the Sand River Bridge which seemed to take longer to complete than the Brooklyn Bridge is functional but it is hardly a work of art. The bridges over the canals are far more attractive.
In fact I would say that it is two private enterprises: The Quayside restaurant on the canals and Bruce’s Cafe at the Pool, that have added more to the St Francis experience than anything else over the last few years.
Consider the beach and Granny’s Pool car parks. Surely a sturdy retaining wall, a couple of Canary palms, a few benches and a proper fresh water shower would make them far more inviting and enjoyable to both tourists and locals.
Any beach in Florida has that for starters.
Then there are the tempting projects which are talked about every year but dissipate into thin cold air every winter.
The idea of a Village Green was a great one. I envisage a mowed parkland lawn, a duck pond, a cricket pitch, a few paths and chess tables and perhaps a small band stand for jazz, a township choir or a string quartet on a Sunday afternoon. Today it still looks like The Waste Land.
The notion of an overseas walkway connecting the Main Beach to the Pool was an equally exciting idea. I had visions of the one at the mouth of Storms River. What happened to that?
Then there’s the Spit. Undoubtedly an engineering challenge but surely not an insurmountable one. Last Summer I took our boat to The Secret Beach. Poles and rocks and stuff were all over the place. It certainly wasn’t as pretty as I used to remember it.
Now of course it has had a dangerous breach in it. Is that not further evidence that procrastination is always rather more than a thief of time and that it should have been a higher priority than cameras and traffic circles.
I could go on about the beach perhaps… but I think I’ve made the point.
What this STPO Association desperately needs is a Creative Director with a fresh eye who can make things look good, and a Project Director who has the tenacity to make things happen at a reasonable pace.
The engineers should stick to making things work and not decide what they look like.
We should always remember St Francis is a truly unique spot.
The concept was beautifully thought through right from the beginning even with what I imagine were very limited resources.
Our mission should be to improve it. Not to denigrate it.
At the moment it feels like a bunch of engineers and accountants who always talk about things draining well but never care too much about what they look like.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a timeline of projects over the next three years and a team who are dedicated to getting them done really well?
But let me say again that I realize this a difficult job and I respect the guys who give up their valuable time to do their best, to juggle and strike a reasonable balance, between the different agencies and budgets involved.
However I promise you one thing.
If things started to look easier on the eye they would certainly start to feel a lot easier on the pockets of those who continually criticize them.
All it needs is just a little more vision.”
A concerned resident
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