|The SFPO has done the research and consulted broadly to develop a proposal to save St Francis from the decline it is experiencing. There are many property owners who are unaware of what we have proposed. We are doing everything we can to inform them. We have held six public meetings, written thirteen monthly newsletters, set up two new websites for the SFPO Association and the SFPO NPC, explained the proposal on Facebook and WhatsApp, held many meetings with individuals and small groups, sent emails and telephoned property owners.
We have encouraged debate. All we ask of property owners is to educate themselves on what we have proposed and why we have proposed the SRA levy. We believe in what we have proposed, and that is why we have every right to explain to property owners why it is in their interests to support the SRA proposal. Let’s be very clear, none of us want to pay more money, but we have come to the conclusion that there is no other way.
The Municipality has very significant financial constraints, as do many other Municipalities around the country. If our proposal is rejected by the majority of property owners then so be it. We have received 886 votes to-date with 723 Yes votes (82%) and 163 No votes (18%).
The SFPO Association committee, the directors on the SFPO NPC and the members of our Technical committee are all volunteers, focussing on the survival and restoration of our town. We are acutely aware of the importance of the retired community to the well-being of St Francis. Our SFPO Committee members are all retired as well.
We are formulating a set of exemption criteria to ensure that those who cannot afford the levy will be exempted. We have asked for input from pensioners to assist with setting this criteria to make sure it is appropriate. As regards the question as to what we are planning to spend the money on that we collect from the levy, the Pie Chart below explains it.
Our priority projects are the arterial roads, and Phase 2A of the river/spit/beach project. Phase 2A involves (1) selecting the solution for de-silting the river, getting this sand onto the beach and holding it on the beach and (2) submitting the EIA to DEDEAT for authorisation. We expect Phase 2A to take 12-18 months before we can actually start on the restoration of river, spit and beach.