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Kouga-Express
New committee to focus on bush clearing

THE St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) have launched a fire risk reduction initiative in a bid to curb the spike in fire risks – with a special focus on bush clearing in the area.

This follows after 20 homes were destroyed or severely damaged by fires in the St Francis Bay area in the last 12 months.

The spike in fires and fire risks is contributed to overgrown pro-perties that are not maintained and alien vegetation.

According to municipal by laws, property owners are liable for the management of their stand, not the municipality. Should a disaster occur – big or small – the specific property owner can be held liable for damages occurred due to fire damage.

By enforcing laws the Kouga Municipality intends to ensure that owners comply with bush clearing, and if not, the repercussions include stand clearing by the municipality at a high cost, that is recoverable from the stand owner. The municipality will be able to claw back the costs, especially if homeowners have been warned and failed to act.

SFPO service offering

As a result, the SFPO has stepped up to assist owners of residential stands to comply. A new committee role has been created to focus on bush clearing.

In brief, the SFPO Fire Risk Reduction initiative will offer the following service:

  • A single contact point for owners who have received notices from the municipality, or are concerned about the state of their stands;
  • A status alert to owners whose stands need urgent attention;
  • Access to simplified information regarding by-law standards;
  • An audit of the state of stands and their variance from the standards required by the municipality;
  • Access to a panel of approved, competent and equipped service providers;
  • Based on a standard audit, the submission of transparent cost estimates to owners. Rates are expected to be well below the municipality published rates;
  • Provision of a payment gateway;
  • Release of funds to service providers on satisfactory completion of work agreed;
  • Notification to municipality of compliance of stand.

This is a phased project, and there is currently a pilot study underway to ensure procedures and standards, as well as to develop a pricing model for the stands with differing levels of stand vegetation.

For more information, contact the SFPO at info@sfpo.

Alternatively, send an email to resident Trevor Wright at trevoralanwright1953@gmail.com.

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