Potholes to disaster

By Bev Mortimer (Article first published in the 8 August 2012 print edition of St Francis Chronicle)

One of the worst pothole-infested areas – the corner of St Francis Drive and Harbour Road

St Francis Bay has now been declared a disaster area by the town’s residents’ association that has written an urgent plea for help from the EC Provincial MEC .
The St Francis Bay Residents’ Association (SFBRA) in a letter sent to MEC Mlibo Qhoboshiane this month cites flooding in Sea Vista township, sewerage spills and bad roads with potholes that have all led to the deterioration of the town and warns of health risks. In an apparent appeal for funding the organisation says: “If money is not spent on putting adequate drainage in, our roads are going to deteriorate even further.”
The organisation attached several photographs, four of which are published here, to illustrate the shocking state of the town’s roads and invited senior members of Qhoboshiane’s staff to visit St Francis Bay to view the situation for themselves. The organisation maintains its complaints to Kouga Municipality have gone unheeded.

A Santareme street

A Santareme Street

A Santarmeme Street

Last month the SFBRA wrote to Kouga Municipal Manager, Fadi saying the situation of St Francis Bay’s roads had reached a critical situation and immediate action was needed to prevent the roads’ state worsening. A week later at an SFBRA meeting the organisation stated Fadi had not acknowledged the letter.
It was also revealed the municipality ordered 100 tonnes of tar for the Kouga area. The first load was delivered to St Francis and additional staff was employed in St Francis to fix the potholes, prioritising main roads.
The meeting also heard legal opinion was being sought to establish the feasibility of an interdict against the 2012/2013 budget which it says is “flawed”.
Subsequently the SFBRA revealed the owners ofthe local pharmacy donated gravel to repair the intersection of Tarragona and St Francis Drive, some of which was also used to repair the large hole at the top of Harbour Rd. “The Association paid for the hiring of a TLB from John Hanley at St Francis Brick to grade and level the gravel on both roads,” the SFBRA says.
“At the same time the bend in Tarragona was re-graded and the ditch extended to allow more storm water drainage. It appears the pipe installed by the St Francis Bay Rotarians on Mandela Day is working much better.”
Asked to comment Kouga Municpality says the roads are being fixed. According to a statement received: “Work has already started and will be ongoing.” It is understood heavy rains are hampering progress.
In its letter to the MEC, headlined ‘St Francis Bay – Now a disaster area’, the SFBRA says: “The recent rains in St Francis Bay, once again, have caused severe damage to our tarred roads as well as flooding of streets, some of which we ourselves have had to close. The situation of flooding in the township of Sea Vista is so bad that many houses, the community hall and church have been underwater. This is likely to lead to a health problem and already there are areas where it appears that sewerage spills have taken place. In St Francis Bay, due to the excessive flooding, conservancy tanks are having to be emptied on a far more regular basis this in turn could also cause a health problem due to sewerage spillage.
“One of Kouga’s senior engineers who visited St Francis Bay on Friday commented that this had now becoming a disaster area and it is going to take weeks to drain the floodwaters away from roads and residential homes because of lack of storm water drainage. If money is not spent on putting adequate drainage in, our roads are going to deteriorate even further.
The current manpower that we have available to St Francis Bay is totally inadequate to address these problems and in many places the roads have deteriorated to such an extent that filling potholes is no longer a solution. We would urgently request a visit of senior members of your staff to St Francis Bay, Sea Vista and Cape St Francis to gain first hand insight into the severe problems that we are experiencing.”
I have attached a number of photographs giving you some indication of the problems that we are facing. In light of the fact that further rains are expected we would request an immediate response and action plan to this letter.
The reason that we are writing to you is in absolute desperation as our repeat correspondence and requests to the Kouga Management fall on deaf ears and they do not even have the courtesy of any form of response. As a Residents Association who have gone out of their way to offer assistance to the Kouga Municipality we find this situation totally unacceptable,” the letter concludes.
The letter was signed by Tony Moore, chairman of the SFBRA.

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