Kouga Municipality is surging ahead with the construction of an emergency revetment at St Francis Bay to protect municipal infrastructure and houses on the canals from the ocean.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the most recent breach of the St Francis spit, that separates the canals from the ocean, had been the most serious to date, with the sea washing away two jetties and damaging a slipway.
“Given the current circumstances, 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 have recommended that a revetment be built along the backshore of the spit on the northern end instead, so as to protect the municipal pump house and two properties that were damaged this week.”
He said the engineers had given the municipality the assurance that the current breach did not pose a threat to infrastructure and properties in the remainder of the canals.
“The priority has, therefore, shifted to protecting the area under immediate threat.”
He cautioned that the change in position of the revetment could also impact on the proposed long-term solution to the eroding spit.
“The long-term plan, which is being driven by the 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. The 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 St Francis Riparian Home-Owners Association for their ongoing support.
“Finalising and implementing the long-term solution has become a matter of extreme urgency,” he said.
“The breaching of the spit poses a serious threat to our infrastructure, properties and the local economy, but we are confident that if we continue working together, we can keep our coastline safe and the economy growing.”
Photo: Darren Peens