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