Latest breach of the dune spit is the most serious

 

Photo by Barry Culligan of the breach, 22 September

Article edited by Bev Mortimer

The breaching of the spit poses a serious threat to our infrastructure, properties, and the local economy, Kouga Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said in a press statement yesterday.
The breaching of the spit poses a serious threat to our infrastructure, properties and the local economy, Kouga Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said in a press statement yesterday.
He also said also the most recent breach of the St Francis spit, that protects St Francis Bay’s upmarket canal homes from the sea, is the most serious to date, with the sea washing away two jetties and damaging a slipway. “Finalising and implementing the long-term solution has become a matter of extreme urgency.”
However, Hendricks maintained that the municipality is confident that if everyone works together the coastline here can be kept safe and the economy will keep growing.
He said the municipality through its building contractor is constructing an emergency revetment at St Francis Bay to protect municipal infrastructure and houses on the canals from the ocean.
In the current situation the municipality’s coastal engineers have advised that completing the revetment up to the 620m mark, as was originally planned, is no longer a viable option. They recommend a revetment be built along the backshore of the spit on the northern end to protect the municipal pump house and two properties that were damaged this week.
Hendricks said the engineers assured the municipality that the current breach did not pose a threat to infrastructure and properties in the remainder of the canals. The priority has now shifted to protecting the area under immediate threat.
Hendricks cautioned that the change in position of the revetment could also impact on the proposed long-term solution to the eroding spit.
He pointed out that the plan of St Francis Property Owners (SFPO), is to move about one million cubic metres of sand onto the beach and to construct groynes on either side of the rock revetment to retain the sand. This plan will be revised in line with the recent changes.
He said the revetments were being constructed as a temporary defence while funding was being secured and the environmental processes being finalised for the long-term solution.
Hendricks thanked the SFPO and SFPO for their ongoing support.
In the most recent most recent press release issued to the local media, the SFPO’s Wayne Furphy said the municipality will complete the emergency revetment on the Spit from Aldabara to a point roughly in line with the pump house.
“This will include closing the breach which is obviously urgent and a priority. Rock is being used for this revetment and is the only material allowed for our revetments by DEDEAT in their EIA authorisation covering revetments (ie called Phase 1 Authorisation).”
“Neither sandbags nor dolosse can be used. The emergency revetment will buy us time to finalise our EIA and accumulate sufficient funds to start work on the long term solution (called Phase 2 long term beach solution). This solution involves placing enough sand on the beach to raise it enough to push back the sea 40 metres, and hold the sand with groynes.

Photo by Bary Culligan, 22 September 2020