Chairman’s report for St Francis Bay Riparian HOA

St Francis Bay Canals - Riparian HOA logo

Chairman’s report for St Francis Bay Riparian HOA delivered at Annual General Meeting held at St Francis Links on 15th December 2016.

I would like to welcome you to the 2016 Annual General Meeting for the St Francis Bay Riparian Home Owners Association and thank you for giving up your valuable time to attend.

Formal management of the canals by the association is now it its 10th year following the agreement with Kouga in January 2007 and I will start my report by introducing the current directors and committee members, some of whom have been on the committee since its inception.

Bennie Morsink is our vice chairman and founder who’s portfolio includes Law enforcement, Planning permission for canal walls & jetties and general monitoring of all canal walls.

John Robson handles the often frustrating and challenging portfolio for Dredging and this year his responsibilities increased by 50% with the launch of our third dredger.

Richard Foulds is our financial director who looks after the audit, accounting, insurance and legal needs of the association and he will be giving his financial report after this report.

James Jooste’s portfolio looks after our boat fleet, Health & Safety, Monitoring of water quality and Signage.

Louis Fouche handles the liaison and coordination between the Riparian association and other associations such as the Kromme River committee and the Ward 12 committee etc.

Greg Miller and Nevil Hulett’s portfolio covers the Spit protection and Beach nourishment projects which are now coordinated by the St Francis Property Owners Association.

Greg & Nevil are also responsible for coordinating the operation of the fire boat with a volunteer fire crew and providing technical assistance for dredging.

Marge Lahana looks after the accounting and administration and until recently Fae Fynn handled our secretarial duties.

Fae has moved to the UK and we wish her well in her new environment.

And finally our Canal Manager William Lotter who has the mandate to manage and maintain the canals in accordance with our agreement with Kouga. With his team of seven, think you will agree that he has done an excellent job and although there is always much to be done the canals looking as good as ever.

So thank you to William and his team.

I will now go through the main highlights for the past 12 months and our plans for 2017

Dredging was again our main focus as the canals are silting up at a faster rate than previously experienced particularly at the access points to the river.

We survey the depth at neap low tide to establish the areas which are less than 1.2m deep in the middle and then plan the dredging accordingly. As a result of the accelerated siltation we decided to build a third dredger similar in size to the existing large dredger so that we can keep ahead of the dredging needs.

William together with The Works Engineering in the industrial area designed and built the new dredger which was fully operational by the middle of November.

Our boat fleet consisting of 4 utility boats and a law enforcement boat was upgraded during the year to give a uniform identity.

The Fire boat which is based at the Canal harbour has also been upgraded and will be operated by a volunteer fire crew if and when required.

Under special projects we have

  • upgraded the harbour car park and improved the landscaping around the harbour
  • we have improved the area around the cove and had the ablution block upgraded including a new conservancy tank to prevent spillages
  • we have extended the canal harbour office to provide space for the ever increasing administration functions and, for the convenience of our clients, we now accept credit and debit card payments for licences and moorings.

For the improved cleanliness of our beaches and public open spaces we have installed three bag dispensers for collection of dog faeces, so please encourage all dog owners to use them.

At the beginning of the year we embarked on the implementation of Health, Safety and Environmental policies in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and I am pleased to report that we were fully compliant by the middle of the year with no incidents reported year to date.

Building on the safety aspect we have improved signage around the canals and you will notice that all bridges have signs requesting people not the jump from the bridges as this is an accident waiting to happen.

From a health aspect we have used the University of Port Elizabeth to test the canal water on a regular basis for harmful ecoli and have found that the canals are well within the target water quality range.

In the one or two areas that were out of specification due to spillages we found that the water was clean again after 2 high tides.

Unfortunately we have only been allocated one Law enforcement officer this season by Kouga so to provide adequate coverage we will be using one of our employees to assist with law enforcement.

During the season our other employees will be used around the canals for maintaining the gardens, cleaning the ablutions and control of the harbour boom and car park etc.

Our new website has been up and running since July and has a members portal where information on the association such as minutes of meetings and financial data is available.

The aim of the general website is to promote the St Francis Bay canals and provide information to visitors on all aspects of the canals such as, activities, restaurants and entertainment and property opportunities etc.

Kromme River

Mid way through the year Norman Dyer of the Kromme River committee negotiated an agreement with Kouga to manage the river using funds from the sale of river licences. Through Louis we continue to work closely with the river committee and wherever possible pool our resources.

The agreement now opens up the possibility of future dredging in the river to clear channels for safer boating.

The river committee together with the assistance from John and James have realigned many of the buoys in the river and added additional buoys to assist with navigation, however caution must be exercised when on the river as it is very silted up particularly along the lower reaches.

I would also like to point out that there is no skiing or towing allowed on the river between the river mouth and the start of the ski zone above River Tides as shown on the map which was issued with each boat licence.

Jet skis are also not permitted on the river and must be used responsibly when going out through the river mouth.

St Francis Property Owners association

We continue to have an active representation on the St Francis Property Owners association and just a reminder that their AGM is next week Thursday at 5pm at the links so please support them by attending.

The St Francis Bay Property Owners association have been appointed by Kouga  to coordinate all activities for the approved BAR for the Beach and Spit.

Greg Miller will be updating us later on progress with the spit and beach projects as he is employed by the St Francis Bay Property Owners association.

New Projects

New projects being considered for 2017 in addition to the overall canal maintenance will include

  • The Spit management and maintenance plan which will require approval from DEA
  • Replacement of jetties and walkways in ski canal
  • Additional facilities to improve handling of the dredger pipes and thus improve the dredging performance.
  • Bird island improvements

Boating Statistics

Some boating statistics and general information

In the 2016 financial year we issued 1,201 canal licences which was 4% up on the previous year and made up from

  • 78% for boats with outboard board motors
  • 7% for jet boats
  • 14% for jet skis

As of the 14th December this year Canal licence issues were 3% up on the same time last year.It is also encouraging to note that annual mooring bookings are up by 13% which means that we are getting a better yield from the harbours.

The harbour office is open 7 days a week during the season and any general or law enforcement queries should be routed to the harbour office from where they will be redirected to the relevant authority. The number is 0636964906 or

You will also notice that the Ski canal jetties now have one bay reserved for the drop off and pick up of visitors to the beach by water taxi or cruise boat.

Finally the management of the canals is not just handled in 10 committee meetings a year but by daily hands on involvement from all the directors.

In addition each Monday at 3pm William is available at the canal harbour office to discuss work in progress with any of the committee members and to resolve issues that may arise.

If anyone is interested or has an issue they would like attended to then I encourage you to attend one of the Monday meetings.

Simon Picton-Turbervill
St Francis Bay Riparian HOA