Greetings to all St Francis Bay property owners and residents
With the Festive Season fast approaching, everyone is busy with preparations to ensure that our town is looking at its best to welcome the influx of holiday home owners and visitors.
We are working with the Kouga Municipality to get some much needed maintenance work completed, including clearing encroaching bush from road verges, filling pot holes, and repainting road markings. Temporary repairs are being made to the Main Beach revetment and the George Road car park. Work has begun to reinstate the stair case on to the beach at Ann Avenue. Repairs and maintenance to the beach ablutions and life guard facilities is also underway to ensure that these facilities are in suitable working order in time for the Season.
Although we have had some reasonable rains through the winter months, we remain under water restrictions as the dam levels are still relatively low. We ask you all to use water sparingly while visiting St Francis.
The SFPO’s primary focus is to serve the interests of all property owners in St Francis Bay. Our primary objective is to reverse the decline in the real value of our property investments that we have experienced over the past decade. Some people have told us that they don’t care about the value of their homes. However, many people have told us that this decline is unacceptable and we should restore our town to itself rightful place as a sought after property investment destination in South Africa. We cannot sit by and watch this decline and do nothing about it.
We decided to start by forming a public/private partnership with the Municipality. We cemented this arrangement by submitting an application for a Self Rating Area, where we could raise a levy, consented to by the majority of property owners in the Canal and Village areas, that would be used exclusively for restoring some of the infrastructure in these areas (ie river, spit, beach and roads) and installing a CCTV camera infrastructure to make our town safe again. We have a sub-committee of the SFPO Association specifically looking at the Santareme, St Francis-on-Sea, Port and Otters Landing areas to either join the SRA or set up separate SRA arrangements should the majority of property owners in these areas so wish.
We have two SFPO organisations :
- the SFPO Association, which is the rate payers association for St Francis Bay, represented by an elected Committee of volunteers, and is funded by membership subscriptions
- the SFPO NPC, which is a “Not For Profit” company, represented by a Board of Directors (volunteers). The SRA levy is paid to the SFPO NPC, as are the donations we received from property owners from 2016 onwards. We are still receiving donations from property owners (eg from The Links) who wish to contribute to the SRA projects.
Both of these organisations fund projects for improving St Francis Bay.
We have chosen our CCTV supplier, Intersec; finalised the camera placements with some 150 cameras; and our CCTV application to the Municipality has been approved. These cameras will cover our main entrances/exits to St Francis Bay, the main arterial roads from the Canals, through the Village CBD, to Harbour Road and Tarragona Road. We have sited cameras covering certain bridges, high traffic pedestrian areas and the beach. We have also included 3 camera poles with multiple cameras at three major intersections between Santareme and the Port. We have also sited cameras on certain intersections into the Sea Vista township. We expect to have these cameras installed by December. The cameras will be monitored by a state of the art 24/7 Control Centre.
The restoration of our river, spit and beach remains our top priority. Given the difficulties we have had in getting the necessary authorisations from DEDEAT to complete emergency repairs on the Spit, and the wasteful and disrespectful manner in which we have been treated by DEDEAT, we issued an RFP to whom we considered the dominant Environmental Consulting organisations in the Eastern Cape. This RFP was for the completion of the EIA for Phase 2. We received 3 bids for this work. We have appointed EOH to complete this EIA, and they will start shortly. We also agreed with the Municipality that it would focus on looking at the short term protection of the Spit while we focus on the long term solution (Phase 2).
You might recall that Advisian completed the preliminary engineering design for Phase 2 earlier this year. We have re-engaged with Advisian and they will start work on the detailed design of the long term solution. Advisian and EOH will need to work together to complete the long term solution submission to DEDEAT. This process is expected to take 12-16 months, depending on how quickly DEDEAT are willing to process our application once it is submitted.
Design as well as the preparation of tender documentation for the upgrading of the entrance to the Village at the Circle opposite The Links is complete. It is anticipated that a contractor will be appointed to undertake the work by the end of January 2019. The scope of work includes for the rehabilitation of the section of road from the circle up to the Lyme Road North / South intersection, the provision of taxi embayment’s on the R330, footpaths to accommodate pedestrians, street lighting and landscaping as can be seen here :
Other Project News
Transfer Station for Recycling : We are in final negotiations with the Municipality to establish a transfer station for recyclable materials at the Municipal yard on St Francis Drive opening in the last week in November towards the end of January. SFPO will be employing two workers to manage the site. More details on what recycling will be accepted will be published in the near future.
Sea Vista Pathway : The application for funds from the Kouga Wind Farm to pay for the upgrade of the primary pedestrian pathway linking our CBD with the Sea Vista township has been successful. Servitude access has been approved by the Municipality and they have begun clearing bush in sections of the servitude. The actual construction of the pathway will commence in January. The scope of the project will include the clearing of the servitude, paving and drainage as well as strategically placed lighting with CCTV camera coverage. This pathway is notoriously dangerous for pedestrians who are often attacked and robbed by criminals.
Traffic Signage :
The Provincial authorities have confirmed that road signage on the R330 is inadequate and in places incorrect. They have indicated that from Oyster Bay Rd turn-off through to the St Francis Links boundary the speed limit will be 80 kmph. From that point through to the end of the informal settlement the limit is 60 kmph and thereafter through to Cape St Francis the limit is 100 kmph. All missing and additional signage will be installed as a matter of urgency.
Other Committee News :
Canal Home Owners News :
Congratulations to the St Francis Bay Riparian Home Owners’ staff and committee on being awarded Blue Flag Status for the second year running. It is really great to receive this external endorsement of the hard work that has been put into maintaining our marina as a quality destination.
The old pump house at Shore Road is currently under renovation. The Canal Home Owners Association and the Kromme Joint River Committee are jointly funding the renovations which will convert the old pump house into a Unisex ablution block with three toilets including a disabled facility with outdoor showers for bathers. The Canal Home Owners will manage the maintenance of this much needed facility.
The Kouga Municipality have stripped out all the old electrical equipment and work has begun to make the facility ready for the December holiday season.
To help prevent theft and damage to property in our small boat harbour new security measures have been introduced. A boom is now positioned outside the office and licensed boat owners will need to apply for an access tag in order to launch their boats. A secure access gate has also been positioned above the mooring jetty and only those who own or hire a mooring will be provided with the access tag. Tags and further information are available at the harbour office (042 294 0079)
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – St Francis Bay Riparian Home Owners Association for 2018 will take place on December 18th at 17h00 at the St Francis Bay Bowling Club Community Hall
Santareme Sub Committee :
The workshop on October 4th at which Municipal planning officials, SFPO and Santareme delegates will debate the existing by-laws governing the aesthetics, building colour codes in that neighbourhood of St Francis Bay with a view to reviewing and modernising the regulations took place and it is expected that this will lead to the review of all building codes which currently apply in St Francis Bay.
Kromme Joint River Committee :
The KJRC welcomes all to the Kromme River over the holiday season. In the interest of safety, the Committee wishes to remind everyone of the following :
A map indicating the various travel zones on the river is handed out with every application for a river permit with the by-laws printed on the reverse side.
In terms of international maritime law, the navigable channels on the river are marked as follows : green buoys on the right and red on the left when going up river (away from the mouth). Travelling down river the green buoys are on the left and the red on the right.
Due to increasing sand deposits in the river, the navigable channels are very narrow and extra caution must be exercised when boating in these areas. The “NO SKI ZONE” stretches from the river mouth all the way to the sign indicating Ski Zone as detailed on the map. No water skiing, tubing or similar boating activities may take place outside the designated ski zone.
Your Skipper’s Ticket must be available on request at all times and River Permit displayed on your boat. Our River Patrols will be in operation to monitor and control all motorised craft using the river. We appeal to everyone to respect these officers and adhere to rules.
Pease note, these rules are to ensure river safety and increase everyone’s holiday fun. Our children have every right to enjoy their time on or in the water without the threat of being injured or worse. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday Season!
St Francis Links :
Visitors to The Links are reminded that on entering through security at the main gate you are required to produce your driver’s licence.
A group of property owners, calling themselves the Concerned Residents Association, have submitted a motion against the Municipality (first respondent) to set aside the SRA Levy in the Port Elizabeth High Court. The SFPO Association and SFPO NPC are listed as second and third respondents, but there is no need for us to oppose the motion as the Municipality will do so. We have reviewed their accusations against the Municipality and ourselves, and are happy for the courts to decide.
We have over the past 3 years met some of the people in this group and have spent hours discussing their concerns. Their only interest is to stop the SRA and force (somehow) the Municipality to restore our infrastructure with money they simply do not have. We are still holding the door open for discussions with this group, as we have always been ready to meet with anyone who wishes to discuss the SRA proposal and arrangements. Our town has a history of lack of unity and common purpose, which is why we have witnessed the gradual degradation of our infrastructure and the loss of our beach. It would be easy to throw in the towel and be bullied by a small but very vocal minority. However, we have invested a lot of time and money (thank you to all our donors) to simply walk away. None of those supporting the CRA have donated a cent to Saving St Francis, but instead focused on criticising everything we have proposed and delivered.