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

Expedition Port Elizabeth

The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth

The recent Expedition Africa was motivation to cross the Gamtoos River for the first time in over two years. The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth and quite frankly cities were too much part of life for so many years to find any joy other than visiting through necessity.

So having to travel for a very early medical appointment in Port Elizabeth last week saw me crossing the Gamtoos river for a second time in a week. Not wanting to add to the stress of a very early morning drive in the dark (old eyes don’t see too good in the dark) for what was already promising to be a stressful day, staying overnight in Port Elizabeth seemed the only sensible option. Certainly staying with a friend would have been preferred but inconsiderate so the choice was either a hotel or B&B.

Having become a ‘true St Franciscan’ supporting anything St Francis will always be uppermost when making decisions on where to shop, stay or dine so the decision was easy knowing that Cape St Francis Resort has in its stable, a B&B in Newington Road on Richmond Hill, aptly named Newington Place. Having lived in PE way when this area really was in rather bad repair and it was certainly a revelation to see how beautifully these historic, Victorian homes have been so lovingly restored.

Newington Place

Newington Place a beautifully restored Victorian Home

In the mid 70’s I purchased a settler cottage (circa 1864) in Ivy Street on the hill when it could only be described as a slum. A few pioneers’ snapped up these little cottages (I paid R8500 for a two bedroom with an outdoor toilet) and so the area was gradually upgraded. Being young and energetic I soon had the cottage restored into a rather quaint little ‘yuppie’ pad and yes it now had an indoor bathroom.

But back to Newington Place!  Set on a large (double) stand on the corner of Newington Road and Dickens Street with a huge garden to one side filled with leafy green trees and colourful bushes and certainly a bird paradise. At the rear of the house, well away from the road frontage is a lovely and sunny garden with a sparkling pool, a built in braai and el fresco bar for visitors to enjoy as well as a newly built deck overlooking the garden, a perfect spot to chill out after a long journey or day in the city.

Newington Place Pool

Newington Place private garden and pool, a perfect spot to ‘chill’

With five bedrooms in the main house, a self-catering cottage and another self-contained unit in the garden, Newington Place is certainly worth considering if you need to stay in the city the night or for a few days. All the rooms have garden views and most of the bedrooms have flat screen TV’s but the common area with its large comfy couch is a far more sociable place to ‘hang out’ and chat with fellow guests or watch TV. Wandering around the passages there are some interesting pictures including what appears to be the original deed of sale. There is no doubt that care has been taken to retain the house’s originality whilst installing modern conveniences.

Newington Place en-suie bedrooms with beautiful period furnishings

Richmond Hill has benefitted hugely from the SRA (yes that word that seems to scare a few locals) and no better example of this is Stanley Street which is a short drive or taxi ride from Newington Place. Rather reminiscent of Florida Road in Durban there is a wide choice of places to dine and I chose a nice little pub that was really reasonable with a good draught beer at a very reasonable price.

So if you have an early flight out of or a late flight into PE and don’t want to risk a drive in the dark or for whatever other the reason you may have to stay over in the city, staying over at Newington Place certainly is worth considering. Nothing in Port Elizabeth is said to be more that a 20 minute drive away and Newington Place is certainly even closer to most, particular the hospitals and some great dining choices.

St Francis Future


St Francis Future on the shelves and on line

The St Francis Property Owners publication St Francis Future that hit the shelves late on Thursday addresses many of the questions and misconceptions surrounding the proposed SRA.

The 12 page printed publication covers most of the many questions that have been posed to the board of the St Francis Property Owners and probably the most enlightening is the section on “Who is paying for what?” (see page 5). There has been quite a hullabaloo that the money is really to repair the spit and the beach. Many of those I have spoken to who reside in Santareme have been quite vocal in their asking why they should pay for the spit when it really has nothing to do with them. Well it seems that most of the contributions from Santareme will in fact be spent of upgrading of their roads. It is apparent that Santareme, incorporating St Francis on Sea, the Port and Otters Landing has far more roads than anywhere else and over 90 percent of their contributions will in fact be spent on their roads with only a miniscule amount, in comparison to the canals and village being spent on the beach.

Also worth reading is the paragraph on page three – “Payment of Volunteers”.under Misconceptions as well as the paragraph on “Beach Revetments” as many believe that they are paying to save the beachfront owners properties which is simply not true as these owners are paying for their own revetments wit work already started on several properties as significant cpst to the indiviual owners in addition to the levy they will have to pay if the SRA is adopted.

Obviously there are those who are on fixed incomes who will be stretched financially if an SRA is declared but their worries are answered on page seven under “What if I cannot afford the levy?”. The application process will processed by an independent auditor and all applicants personal information will be confidential.

That something needs to be done to save our fast declining infrastructure goes without saying. Maybe not all will agree with the SRA concept but to date no better solution has been put on the table. There are those that believe that now the DA controls the municipality they will be able to wave a magic wand but realistically they simply do not possess that magic wand and their first responsibility has to be the upliftment of the poorer areas within the municipality of which there are many.

You can pick up the printed copy of the printed publication at several outlets around the village including all estate agents , the Bakery, Butchery and at Spar. To read the online version visit.

http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/saving-st-francis/st-francis-future/

Also online is the St Francis SRA Business Plan

 

Road plans unveiled

Road plans unveiled by St Francis Property Owners

The St Francis Property Owners technical committee has certainly been hard at work at analysing much of what needs to be done to bring the St Francis road work up to scratch. No doubt financed by the money donated by those who responded to the call for donations to the “Save St Francis” Fund in December that raised close to R5 million, the report is certainly worth reading.

No doubt the Nay Sayers will have their say on social media but certainly this is a step forward in advising residents some of what the SRA is about and all that needs to be done to save the road network. With Exec Mayor having made it quite clear that the municipal budget next financial year for road upgrades in the entire Kouga district is for just one kilometre of road upgrades and in years to come, one kilometre per ward (17 wards) per year. It would appear there there is scant hope of our roads ever being upgraded without St Francis residents taking some action themselves..

Although our raods are presently in quite good condition with the DA having been true to their word, the rains are a coming and we all know once the rain starts so the potholes start opening up. Will will the municipality have the funds and manpower to keep up with the good job they  have been doing? More seriously though, every pothole further degrades the sub-structure and stability of the roads and patching does little to preserve the road foundations.

Read the various reports here.

Road Plans

Road Final Drawings

Road Visuals

or visit http://npc.stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/npc-projects/road-maintenance/

 

 

Cape St Francis Civics comment

There has been much written both in terms of articles posted on St Francis Today and comments in response to these posts regarding Cape St Francis’ participation in St Francis Property Owners Special Rates Area proposal. Recent communication with members of Cape St Francis Civics as well as an e-Mail from a committee member possibly clears up some of the, shall we call it confusion, with regard to how they, Civics, see things.

The following by mail from Shirley Cowling

The Cape St Francis Civic Association would like to put out the following statement:

it is not against the establishment of Special Rates Areas. In fact, we investigated the establishment of a Special Rates Area in September 2015: A  link to a newsletter dated 12 September alludes to the fact that an SRA was being discussed – see newsletter

We concluded that:

  • No vote to call for the establishment of a Special Rates Area can be called until the Kouga Municipality has a published and adopted By-Law, including policies and regulations, governing Special Rates Areas.
  • The By-law and policy will dictate the due process to be followed regarding the establishment of a Special Rates Area.
  • One of the first steps in the application process would be to determine the boundary of the SRA. We believed a smaller area would be better and more affordable for Cape St Francis residents. We must be mindful of affordability in our area.

As no by-laws for SRA’s have been promulgated in the Kouga, the current vote is nothing more than an indication to the Kouga Municipality that there is a need to promulgate the by-law to allow for SRA’s. There should be no fear that CSF is either left out or will not in future apply to be a SRA.

The committee decided, after extensive consulting with experts and other SRA’s, that it would not be detrimental to either St Francis Bay or Cape St Francis if two separate applications were made for SRA’s – both applications will be in line with the Integrated Development Plan for the area and therefore to the benefit of the entire area.

http://openbylaws.org.za/za-cpt/act/by-law/2012/special-rating-area/

 The bottom line is that the current voting process is not in line with the prescribe procedures.  Nobody can be asked to vote until they know what they are voting for – there must be both a detailed business and an implementation plan.  Then there will be no need for any queries about ring-fencing funds Cape St Francis funds.

COMMENTS vs ARTICLES /  POSTS

Recently we have had requests from readers to post their comments on published articles as new articles. To clarify this, comments are made against a particular article rather than as a new view on a subject matter and as such remain COMMENTS. These comments are held in the web archives and can be read at any time in the future as all articles too, are kept in the archives. To access all articles and comments visit https://stfrancistoday.com/latest-news/latest-posts/

Reader Michael Hornsey has requested that we publish his comments on a letter submitted by Neil Brent for which we make this once only exception only because of a misunderstanding  by St Francis Today. We encourage readers to submit news  no matter how controversial such news may be but do ask that it be original rather than as a comment on what others have submitted. And we encourage comment on articles for whilst some readers my believe these disappear, they do not and are often read weeks and even months later  on Google searches.

St. Francis Today: Thank you for allowing me a reply.

Letter from Mr. Neil Brent 07/02/2017.

Well done Neil on some extremely valid points on the proposed levy.I must say that a number of them could be legally challenged with confidence.

On the one point regarding the voting rights of owners (rate payers!) of individual units within these developments, I have been the owner and ratepayer of my unit in a 7 unit complex for almost 30 years and would demand of this committee the right of an individual vote, and not having the chairman of the body corporate voting for me, or for any of the other 6 owners of the complex with ONE combined vote for the entire body corp. which may not reflect my wishes.I believe that ALL rate paying owners irrespective,MUST be allowed their right of a vote !!

I would also like to know that the voting forms have a Number printed on each form which would allow an independent audit of the final vote count.

My wife and I voted for the Democratic Alliance in the past election and were happy at their long fought success as our new municipality…HOWEVER the DA in their election manifesto promised to attend to the infrastructure problems of the Village.This we will now be forced to pay by an increased amount added to our existing rates payment legally enforceable by the DA Municipality!!

I SUGGEST THAT WE ALLOW THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED DA COUNCIL THE OPPORTUNITY NOW,IN A REASONABLE TIME, TO DELIVER ON THEIR PROMISE TO THEIR VOTERS.

Regards,

Michael Hornsey…(Erf. 1402/3)Santareme,St. Francis Bay.