Controversy over concrete plans for St Francis airpark

Plans to pave the St Francis Field airpark in St Francis Bay with concrete have come under fire by some home owners. The home owners appear to be divided on the issue. Despite an owner of a jet being prepared to pay for the concrete paving costs, to the tune of around R3-million, some home owners were dead set against the runaway being paved

 

These homeowners believe it will lead to more commercialism of the airpark, that more planes and big jets will be enticed to land here, plus there will be increased noise pollution and maintenance tariffs. They also want to enjoy their holidays at the airpark in peace and quiet.

“We would hate to be flown over continually,” one antagonist said. However, other home owners seriously want the runaway paved. “We have been offered a paved runway for free. We must not let this opportunity pass,” said one.

Most proponents of the runway claim the current runway conditions are not good. Although the grass is nice and short it is not level and several pilots have spoken of their planes shuddering as if they are going to break in pieces on take off. They believe the tarred runway will be an advantage to everyone and will add a huge value to the airpark and St Francis. They believe that several wealthy owners of planes who live in Mmupalanga or Gauteng will want to buy property in St Francis and as they can get down to the coast more often …”just fly down for a long weekend.”

The subject of the paving at the airpark arose at the annual AGM of the Cape St Francis Civics Association. Gui Blackburn, chairman of the Home Owners Association, said he represented a fair amount of home-owners opposed to the enlarging of the landing strips into a proper runway that can accommodate larger planes. They believe that not only will it commercialise the Airpark, but will go against the original nature of the Airpark development. The Civics Association was approached as in terms of the Municipal mailing list the airpark is regarded as part of CSF.

It was also felt that CSF residents would be directly affected by the noise of larger planes coming in. The people present at the AGM voted against this development.

A spokesman for the development company, who did not wish to be named said he represented the owner who had offered to pave the runway for free. He said the area to be paved was 1.2 kms, it would be paved to a depth of 150 mm depth, 12m wide and 1200m in length. “We believe in giving back to the community … not only in terms of a runway , but have also, for example, given the NSRI two jetskis..”