How the Enviro-Trust Began

 

In 1981, the Swartkops Trust addressed a St Francis Ratepayers meeting at which it was explained how necessary it was to have an environmental watchdog in the area. Lindy Pagden, who had lived in St Francis since 1975, took up the challenge and in 1982, the St Francis Kromme Trust was formed.

The most pressing environmental issue at the time was the silting of the Kromme River and that is how the new organisation got its name.   This has led to some misunderstandings over the years, as has the inclusion of the word Trust.  The organisation is involved not just with the river but with all local environmental issues.   And it is not a legally-constituted trust, but an association.    However, it is entrusted with responsibility for the environmental concerns of the community and so the name was amended in 2016 to the Kromme Enviro-Trust.

One of the early achievements of the Enviro-Trust was engagement with the architects of Port St Francis, which as a result looks very different today to the design that was initially proposed.That design required reclaiming a substantial portion of land below the high water mark and had large tracts of congested housing. “In those days, people were passionate about St Francis Bay and really cared about it,” said Lindy, “digging deep into their pockets for money to fight inappropriate developments.”

The second major achievement of the Enviro-Trust was the preservation of Public Open Space along the coastline in St Francis on Sea. Developers wanted to build another row of houses along the rocks. The community objected strongly and the Kromme Enviro-Trust engaged attorneys to fight this: in the end the developers conceded. As a result we today have the Two Harbours Walk.

These early cases established the Kromme Enviro-Trust’s approach: to preserve the best of our environmental heritage by, on the one hand, vigorous opposition to detrimental development and, on the other, promotion of the appreciation and conservation of our rich biodiversity.