Locals and regular visitors to St Francis Bay know it is a very special place. It’s the kind of holiday destination you want to keep to yourself lest too many people start visiting and cramp your style. Bordered by the ocean and the Kromme River, its natural beauty is unsurpassed. The animal life on land and on the sea, the long white beaches, the working fishing harbour, the boating canals lined with beautiful homes, pubs and restaurants are tough to beat. And this description does not begin to describe the beauty of this fantastic little town.
Recent Semigration From Other Provinces
Over the past few years, the number of permanent residents has grown. More recently, semigration from other provinces has seen more families discover this pearl of the Eastern Cape. Progress is unavoidable, but one hopes that any new developments will harmonize with the natural beauty, laid back character and spirit of St Francis Bay.
Oyster Lifestyle Village
Louis Koen, an ex-professional cricketer who played for Eastern Province and South Africa, has been a regular visitor and holidaymaker to St Francis Bay for the past 30 years. He has dreamed of developing a retirement village in St Francis Bay for several years. This dream became a reality when he partnered with Drikkie van der Westhuizen, a construction expert and Arthur Case, a retirement industry specialist. Together, they have conceptualized the Oyster Lifestyle Village, to be launched in the New Year. All three are committed to preserving the natural beauty and the spirit of St Francis Bay.
Their interpretation of the St Francis Bay lifestyle is barefoot luxury. Getting sand between your toes on the beach and returning late afternoon for sundowners on your patio or at the leisure centre with friends. To be built on 30 hectares of prime land in the centre of town, this will be a low-density single story development with a lot of private open space. The site development plan delivers 10 homes per hectare which is half the density of most retirement villages.
Louis, Drikkie and Arthur use the R-word reluctantly as this will be nothing like a traditional retirement village. Instead, it has been conceptualized around the values held by baby boomers, aged between 57 and 75 years, which are not into “retirement”. Instead, they simply chart the next chapter of their lives and take on new challenges. As a result, Oyster Lifestyle Village will be run like a fine hotel or holiday resort, shrugging off all vestiges of a traditional retirement village.
And there is more. The developers have carved off 2,65 hectares of the site for the town’s much-needed communal facilities. One hectare has already been allocated to a healthcare operator who plans to deliver a Wellness Centre. This will offer primary healthcare, frail and memory care to the Oyster Lifestyle Village and the local community. So while the lifestyle estate will have a hospitality culture, discreet healthcare will be available right next door, and the whole town will benefit. With a further 1,65 hectares still available, one hopes that other medical facilities will be drawn to this location in time.
An exclusive pre-launch function will be held at the Links Clubhouse on 21 December. The official launch will take place early in the New Year.