An update on the St Francis Bay beach and spit from Councillor Ben Rheeder

St Francis Bay beach rock revetments on Ann's Avenue

On 30 April 2015 Councillor Ben Rheeder, the DA Ward Councillor for Ward 12, held a meeting in St Francis Bay with interested parties to address the repair and maintenance of the rock revetments along the St Francis Bay beach and spit/dune.  All the work on the rock revetments was stopped when DEAT issued compliance notices to two contractors and Kouga Municipality.

During the April 2015 meeting a Beach and Spit/Dune committee was established with Councillor Rheeder as chairperson, with the aim to address the repair and maintenance of the rock revetments along the St Francis Bay Beach.   Proper repair and construction of the rock revetments could save beachfront properties for 5 to 10 years and enable the authorities to implement long-term protection of the beach and spit/dune.  It was also determined that a basic assessment should be done to obtain a ROD to do repairs and maintenance of the rock revetments and the spit/dune.

In a follow-up meeting on 18 May 2015 it was decided that the beach and spit/dune problem should be addressed in both short- and longtime plans.  Short time should be doing a basic assessment and obtaining permission to repair the rock revetments.  Long-term should be appointing a consultant to finalize the proposed resolutions in the Worley Parsons Report.  The estimated cost for the basic assessment would be + R 400 000.00.  The committee decided to raise this money from the owners with beach front properties and from the community of St Francis Bay.   Nigel Aitken and the Residents’ Association volunteered to do this and collected more   than enough funds. The committee also decided to meet with the Provincial DEAT. This meeting was held on 27 May 2015 to determine the way forward. Frank Silberbauer was appointed to manage the basic assessment and a FBAR was completed and handed to DEAT on 8 February 2016.  During June 2016 a ROD (Environmental Approval) was issued by DEAT. After several meetings with the Kouga Municipality a MOA (memorandum of agreement) was signed. This allowed the St Francis Property Owners to manage the repair and maintenance on behalf of the Municipality.

Frank Silberbauer has now been appointed as the Municipal’s ECO (Environmental Control Officer) to monitor compliance with the issued ROD.  This allows property owners to start with the repair and maintenance of the rock revetments. Many thanks to all the people who helped to make this project a success.

A special word of thanks to Nigel Aitken, Jacky Green and Frank Silberbauer.

Ben Rheeder

Read more on St Francis Property Owners website