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St Francis beach restoration still on track

THE St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) and the Special Rates Area (SRA) Non-Profit Company (NPC) are on track to initiate the groyne construction and the beach nourishment in St Francis Bay to save the much eroded beaches.

The spit area, towards the Kromme River mouth, is the most vulnerable stretch right now, and that is the first phase that the project will kick off, and for that there is strong support from the Kouga Municipality.

There is currently work taking place on the spit, with the municipality working in the area in order to save the spit on a short term basis. With the imminent arrival of winter storms, easterly swells and spring tides, the spit needs to be looked after and saved. If the spit goes, there will be massive problems for St Francis.

After a fruitful meeting with the surfers, as well as an informative second public meeting with homeowners and interested parties, much detail with regard to the environmental issues surrounding the project was addressed, and some interesting ideas and concepts were brought to the table from the assembled audience.

The project will be going ahead, and the local community is very excited and very positive about this far-reaching project. Business owners and residents are equally excited, and keen to get going.

Over the last 40 years some 40 metres of sand have been lost to erosion, and there is currently very little sand left to hold back the seas.

The project to build the groynes and to nourish the sand from the Kromme River and other sources needs to happen in order to save this wonderful area.

The longshore current will transport the sand nourishment towards the piers, which will result in beach creation, but the groynes need to be there, and the sand needs to get to the drop off points in an environmental and economic-friendly way.

The greater St Francis area has sporting communities that consist of paddlers, fishermen, surfers, longboarders, open water swimmers, cyclists, runners and more, and all will benefit from the reclamation of the local beaches. The beaches used to be the centre point in St Francis Bay, with Hobie Cats parked up on the sand and thousands of sun-lovers on the massive beaches every day.

The beaches will bring tourists back to St Francis and keep them here, as opposed to their having to head down to Jeffreys Bay or nearby Cape St Francis to enjoy time at the beach.

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