Bush clearing of residential properties begins in St Francis Bay

Bush clearing is taking place in St Francis Bay to reduce the risk of fires damaging or destroying houses.

“Thus far, the focus has been on cutting firebreaks, with the most recent activity being around Sea Vista,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson.

“The programme was made possible by a R1 million donation from Santam to Kouga Municipality.” He said the firebreaks were being cut according to local and national regulations.

“In order for a firebreak to work, all vegetation within its boundaries must be removed. This includes indigenous vegetation. All bush-clearing is, however, carefully planned to minimise the damage to indigenous vegetation.”

“The Fire Risk Reduction Committee has been invaluable in this regard and we are grateful to all stakeholders for sharing their expertise.”

Benson said the focus would now shift to clearing overgrown residential plots which are not compliant with regulations.

“The Fire Department will be issuing notices to property owners whose properties need attention. Property owners are legally required to comply with these notices.

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Ignoring a notice is an offence and will lead to legal action, resulting in a fine or, potentially, imprisonment.”

He said the municipality was also entitled to clear a property on behalf of the owner and to recover the costs of the clearing from the owner.

The St Francis Property Owners Association (SFPO) has thrown its weight behind the bush-clearing programme and would like to encourage residents to make use of local contractors to clear their plots.

“If you know that your property needs attention, take action before receiving a notice. If you’re not sure, contact the SFPO, which now has a dedicated bush-clearing portfolio,” the SFPO wrote in a recent update to residents.

Property owners can contact Lyn Aitken at 042 294 0594 or Nick Munday at [email protected] Alternatively, contact Trevor Wright, a member of the municipal Fire Risk Reduction Committee, at 076 589 0014.

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