Blog 11 October 2012

News Updates today in St Francis Bay

1.  ST FRANCIS VILLAGE NEWS ARTICLE
- Marine Centre at Port St Francis now a reality

A marine centre focusing on the conservation, rehabilitation and sustainability of the ocean will soon open at Port St Francis.  The keys for the new venue of this working visitors centre were officially handed over to the operational team, Rob and Sam Bester of Gypsea Marine Eco Tours on 5 September.

Peter Miller, well known businessman from Port Elizabeth and owner of the venue (the previous Erich at the Port Restaurant), also became the first official sponsor of the initiative at Port St Francis.  “I am looking forward to see Squid Square alive with tourists, school groups and researchers,” Peter said.  “This centre will become a major tourist attraction and I am proud to be part of it.”

The GypSEA Marine Centre, partnered with the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), will be a state-of-the-art visitors centre where interactive programs and displays will promote public awareness and ecotourism.

“Our new home is Port St Francis, where we have access to the ocean, the Kromme River and the St Francis canal system, all subjects of future research,” Rob Bester from GypSEA Marine said.  “By working together with other established groups in St Francis, our eco-tourism programme will include a diversity of watersport and other sporting activities, photographic tours and educational excursions.

The centre will be jointly managed by GypSEA Marine and the SST, represented by its founding trustee and CEO Dr Tony Ribbink and Business Manager Vivianne Quin.

The Centre will become a prime tourist destination on the Garden Route and Route 62, thus contributing to the economic development of Port St Francis and the greater St Francis and surrounding areas.  “Our great venue enables us to run workshops, children’s programmes both indoors and outdoors, host guest speakers and offer fun, educational social events.”

Groups from schools and universities of both impoverished and affluent communities will visit the centre as part of educational tours to get a better understand of the ocean and its challenges.

The centre will also be the basis for various research projects, involving international students, educators and researchers.  The centre will identify, raise funds and conduct these projects in the area.  They will provide education programmes based on the research by using films and computer generated imagery, with a view to moving into 3D format by 2014.  “We will have editing facilities at the centre, opening the doors for further job creation.”

Knowledge obtained through research will be shared in public awareness campaigns to encourage sustainable ways of life, promoting skills that enable people to better care for the coasts and oceans, their plants and animals.

To achieve these goals the SST academic, editing and other team members will produce educational materials together with GypSEA Marine.  It is further envisaged to consider the establishment of a SEAS Centre for skills development and employment.

An advisory committee drawn from prominent people within the greater St Francis area, including Tsitsikamma and Jeffreys Bay will be appointed not only to ensure a broader support base for the centre but also to have guidance from local expertise.  “We need the support of all local businesses to ensure the sustainability of this centre too, and are very happy to announce that our second official sponsor is Calibre Security, who sponsored alarms for both the GypSEA Marine Centre as well as the Kromme Trust’s Heritage Centre.”

The official opening will be the second week in November.

 

2.  TOURISM BUCKET LIST COMPETITION - Winner Sian Hamilton-Browne

I received a surprise yesterday from Warren Manser and Esti Stewart of Tourism, announcing me the winner of the Tourism Bucket List Competition.  My husband, Neil Hamilton-Browne and myself both participated in the competition, submitting  photographs of the 10 items we choose to complete.  Overall only one of the ten items cost us money, which just goes to show what you can do and experience without money.  Some of items we did were things we never knew existed, so it was a total treat.  To visitors or locals, i strongly suggest you contact Tourism to plan your day tours.  One of the items we completed was walking the Sandriver Middens. There are apparently many assorted middens, however we only found shell middens... so we will definetely redo the walk to find the old paintings and bones.  Another item - find the Cape Recife Shipwreck... did you even know that existed? It's was so thrilling to find it after at least an hour of searching.

The winning price was a nights stay at Hillsnek Safari.  We arrive for lunch, game drive, dinner, sleep in luxury, breakfast and another game drive. Fabulous!!!!  And whats even better is they have the big 5!


 




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