Getting To Know Si Cunneen from The Kromme Enviro-Trust

When did you move to St Francis Bay, and how did it happen?

It all started in 2016 when our friends from Sardinia Bay invited us over to stay. We lived in Türkiye, and as a family, we first visited South Africa in January 2016. We took time out to travel to St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis, and I immediately thought how similar the area was, particularly the wild, rocky coastline of Cape St Francis to North Devon in the UK, where I grew up in my younger days. In short, we relocated to South Africa, purchased a property and moved into the area 14 months later, in April 2017!

Tell us about your family.

My wife, Burcu and our two beautiful children, Daisy and Aslan, are back in Türkiye, where Burcu runs a successful Soap Shop and holiday accommodation overlooking the Aegean Sea. 

Where were you, and what were you doing before St Francis Bay?

My childhood days were spent in Devon and then I relocated to London where I was engaged in law enforcement work for 30 years. I decided to retire in 2013 as we had the birth of our first of two children, Daisy, and I then moved over to Türkiye to join the family, where I lived for four years.

What made you decide on St Francis Bay?

What is there not to like about the whole area? The coastline is pristine, for a start, with some beautiful beaches. It was that’ special place’ that one falls in love with. It reminded me so much of my younger days, and it is such an awesome place for the children to grow up and appreciate the lifestyle.

What is the best thing about St Francis Bay? 

Many things come to mind: the coastal lifestyle, the variety of activities one can be involved in, and the many residents of the area who are so friendly, generous, and honest, many of whom I can call my friends. It has such a wonderful vibe and a village feel. 

When did you join the Kromme Enviro-Trust, and why did you initially join it?

I became involved with the Kromme Enviro-Trust just over three years ago, and I am currently undertaking my second term as Chairman. I was introduced to the organisation’s role at a braai, as one usually does! The Enviro-Trust stood for many things, engaging in positive steps for protecting the environment, particularly for future generations, so I thought this could be my contribution to caring for the local environment and doing my bit.

The Kromme Enviro-Trust is an important organisation in SFB. How does it work? 

It was established in 1981, focusing specifically on the Kromme and areas of the coastline, but of course, the geographic area of concern and attention has significantly expanded. There is a committee of about sixteen like-minded people where we meet monthly to discuss ongoing projects and new issues of concern that may affect the environment. Much of this would involve working closely with other local organisations, including SFPOA, FOSTER, and Rotary. Our HQ is at Bruce’s Heritage Centre, where one can find the fantastic Bruce’s Ocean Museum Coffee Shop, which plays a significant role in what we can do on many projects. We cover many projects, big and small, including the maintenance of the Community Garden and the Two Harbours Walk, which involve a great deal of support from residents. Also, our Eco-Kids Programme, which takes place about every six weeks, hosts at least two coastal clean-ups per year and the establishment of a Wildlife Sanctuary.  On a larger scale, we are continually involved in environmental monitoring issues, including the effects of offshore oil and gas survey activity. We are also co-founders of the  Greater Kromme Stewardship initiative, where we work closely with all the local wind farms to protect and preserve the area and threatened species.  

There is more detailed information about our ongoing work and projects that can be found at the link below:

What is the mission statement for the Kromme Enviro Trust?  

The three keywords are “PRESERVE. PROTECT.  PROMOTE

To PRESERVE and PROTECT the environment for the benefit of future generations.

To encourage and PROMOTE environmental awareness.

To encourage the preservation of all flora and fauna, birdlife and the appropriate use of Public Open Spaces, coastal areas and nature reserves.

Are there any big plans upcoming for the Kromme Enviro-Trust

We are working closely with the KLM, SFPOA, and Rotary to protect the coastline and enhance the amenities available to residents and visitors alike, from St Francis Main Beach to the Two Harbours Walk. Work will also be underway to expand the Ocean Museum at The Heritage Centre and continue to protect the Oyster Bay dune field, particularly from sand mining threats, and for the area to be recognised as a Nature Reserve in the near future. That aside, we are continually involved in significant work with other organisations, hoping to reach a successful conclusion in good time that will be shared with the community.

Any final words on the Kromme Enviro-Trust for the residents of St Francis Bay?

As an NGO, we are, of course, reliant on donations and membership to be proactive in what we do. Membership is critical, as the larger our membership can be, the more muscle we can flex as a well-established, credible, and highly supported organisation when there are environmental threats to the area. We always encourage new members to join us and if they wish, to volunteer in some of our activities. Should you want to join up as a member and have a voice in what we represent, then please click on the link below:

Members receive a regular newsletter throughout the year highlighting all our updates and forthcoming activities, and our AGM is held in January. Should the reader wish to know everything there is to know about Kromme Enviro-Trust, please visit our website using the link below and follow us on Facebook. Alternatively, they can visit us at the St Francis Saturday Market, where we have a stall, and may seek further information there while shopping!