Notice from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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NEWSLETTER APRIL 2022
18 April 2022

Dear <<First Name>>,

As I write to you this weekend, I trust all our residents and their families have had a very happy Easter.

We have so much to be grateful for on this beautiful island and its special community - and I hope you have had the opportunity enjoy this holiday time with your nearest and dearest.   

 
The Committee ensured the island was ready for the Easter rush – the newly painted guard hut and storage buildings on Kings Way look great (more about this later), and thanks to KM for mowing the parks and verges.

The new litter bins and poo bag dispensers have made a big difference and the new benches are much appreciated. Thank you to all who have given us positive feedback. There have been ongoing issues with the facilities at Green Hole and we constantly engage with relevant KM departments in an attempt to resolve these.
 
It is, however, with a sense of deep sadness that I have to advise that the Committee has faced a very difficult time in the past weeks. We have been confronted with various allegations by a small group of residents (LIRA members) who have chosen to take their “dispute” public. You may have been sent or copied in on an email and document (which you can read here) that has been distributed beyond this group. 

Some background ... as you are likely aware, some time ago LIRA began discussions with various role players on our future security requirements. This was a lengthy process and took into account long-term needs, changed security industry compliance and legislation, security weak points on the island, among others. Most pertinently, it was pointed out to the Committee that the current security contract with Allsound did not comply with these requirements and we therefore proceeded to review it on its expiry at the end of February 2022, and the options ahead. 

We drew up a new contract that was not only legally compliant, but which we truly believed to be beneficial to all parties and offer much greater protection to residents, including significant up-scaling of camera surveillance and off-site, artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring. 

Allsound Security is required by law to follow certain protocols on any site when a new contract is entered into. The guards are employed by Allsound Security – LIRA may not interfere in this process (at risk of prosecution and a significant fine if were to be deemed so). 

To summarise, the Committee denies categorically that there was ever an intention to jeopardise the employment of the existing guards. We had confirmation that the guards would be offered employment contracts with Allsound Security, and we understood that should any staff members not be required on Leisure they would be accommodated elsewhere within the Allsound group. The existing years of service would be acknowledged, severance packages paid and new employment contracts signed. The terms and conditions of their employment would be within the industry requirements, and we would achieve an acceptable legal contract with Allsound Security as our service provider in terms of current legislation. 

We have been accused of acting unethically without consideration to the years of service that some of the guards have provided. This is simply false. The Committee acknowledges and is grateful for the dedication of all our guards – it was of great concern when assessing our options that their employment would not be jeopardised – and we got this commitment from Allsound. 

We do, however, acknowledge that LIRA may not and should not engage in personnel relationship management on any level – this defeats the object of security entirely. This is, in fact, prescribed in the revised PSIRA regulations and carries a significant penalty if breached.

The interference of the disaffected signatories and the broader distribution of their letter has caused immeasurable damage to the relationship between the guards and their employer – a situation the Committee views with concern.

This undermining has resulted in delayed legal processes that have been detrimental to Allsound - and to all of us and our level of security at present. As a Committee, we support the company as it deals with this interference and destabilising action. We do not believe it to be in anyone's best interests. 

It has also been asked – why did we not go out to tender? We have answered this before. Quite simply, within our geographical region there are no other equivalent providers, those that we could have considered, in fact, use Allsound as their first responders. We, as a committee believe we were not negligent in this respect.

Numerous other allegations have been levelled at the Committee – none of which are substantiated with evidence. Some are serious enough to warrant defamation and we reserve our rights in this regard.

The Committee remains dedicated to serving the Island as best we can, providing viable solutions to the challenges that occur, building important relationships with all role players including visitors, residents, municipal departments and service providers. We are all volunteers who work on your behalf – and we have always been immensely grateful for your support .
 
As a committee we ask that you be mindful of the damage that such divisive behaviour causes – the consequences of undermining good work are significant and we all have a responsibility to work together.

Continuing our service to Leisure Isle

The past two years or so have seen much achieved, notwithstanding the ravages of the pandemic: our incredible food aid programme during lockdown; the Siya Kolisi collaboration which fed 250 township families; the fantastic seawall repairs; the renewal of the Steenbok Agreement; the new and collaborative relationship with a hardworking ward councillor and a functioning Ward 9 Committee; the bins and benches project – to name but a few. 

I must also mention the significant work done by our sub-committee on the Special Rating Area (SRA) process - and our thanks to LIRA members Mark Tonkinson and Mike Gammie for their many hours of work, meetings and analysis. This is work-in-progress and will be covered in future newsletters and public meetings. 

In commenting on LIRA membership, we anticipated this would be adversely affected by the devastating effect of Covid as many families wrestled with financial challenges – but we are pleased to report that this has remained relatively steady at around 70%, notwithstanding, too, the vast number of property transactions that have occurred on the island. We will do our utmost to secure all these new homeowners as members.

We would sincerely hope to add the conclusion of a new security agreement in due course to this list, knowing that our needs on the Island are well covered. The role out of cameras and AI monitoring are essential and we trust we can count on your ongoing support.

Please feel free to contact me or other Committee members with any concerns or input.

Kind regards,

Mary-Anne Beviss Challinor
Chairperson

Contact me: Email me here or call 082 651 3767

Renewal of Steenbok Reserve Management Agreement


We are thrilled to report the renewal of LIRA's management agreement with Knysna Municipality of Steenbok Reserve, one of Knysna's most precious and popular natural resources.

In 1974 the land which is now Steenbok Nature Reserve was donated to the KM by Mr GW Cearn and Mr WW Anderson for the benefit of the public. In the mid-1990s a group of Leisure Isle residents raised funds to start actively looking after and preserving Steenbok.

These arrangements were formalised in 2006 when LIRA and the KM entered into an agreement to jointly manage Steenbok “for the benefit of all Knysna residents, and its visitors, to ensure the natural heritage of this area is nurtured and protected for the benefit of the current and future generations”.
 
This agreement was replaced in October 2011 with a new one along similar lines and which was valid until 31 May 2021:
  • A trust, The Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve Trust (“the Trust”), would hold and manage all funds collected for use in managing Steenbok Nature Reserve;
  • A Management Committee (“Mancom”) with representatives from the KM, LIRA, the Trust and SANParks was established to manage the nature reserve;
  • The real work is done by a small team from Mancom, volunteers and service providers (currently headed up by the Reserve Manager, Di Stromberg with a lot of support from the KM and SANParks).
  • LIRA and KM currently contribute approximately R50K each towards the annual cost of the nature reserve and a further R75K to R100K is raised pa via donations to the Trust, from Leisure Isle residents and other supporters in Knysna and further afield.
  • The agreement was extended for six months and then a further five months while LIRA was in the process of negotiating with KM that it was in everyone’s interest to keep this agreement as it was.
We are very pleased that we have now secured a 10-year extension to the agreement. Thanks to all involved for making this happen!
 
“Steenbok Nature Reserve is a prime example of why everyone loves Knysna. Beautiful, natural and open to everyone. We are proud to be involved with its maintenance and management, working together towards an inclusive, innovative and inspired Knysna.”
Executive Knysna Mayor, Levael Davis, read more here
 
If you would like to become a member of the Trust (R500 pa donation) please contact Ingrid Meter on 083 408 9420 or news@steenboknaturereserve.org.za.

Keeping our buildings in shape...


Our infrastructure caretaker, Mark Sofianos, is always busy, not only with his own significant construction business, but also in making good on the island. The security hut and the storage huts in Kings Park were recently given a painting makeover - very nicely spruced - in one of his latest projects. Big thanks to Mark and his team!


 

The Leisure Isle Festival
is back!


After a two-year absence, the Leisure Isle Festival Committee is pleased to announce that, with the generous support of Sotheby's International Realty, this popular event is back in action!

The festival will take place on 5 & 6 November 2022, and will have all its usual attractions - loads of stands featuring local arts, crafts and good food. In addition, the festival team plans to put on extra events for youngsters this year. More details will be publicised in the months ahead.

"We look forward to a really exciting, fun-filled festival - one that will hopefully raise lots of money for our various charities who all need our help after a tough couple of years," comments Bob Hunt, part of the organising committee.

Site holder registration will open on 1 August 2022. You can keep updated on the festival via its Facebook page or contact the team by email on info@leisureislefestival.co.za.

LIRA levy for 2022 - please settle!


Thank you to members who've paid - and to those whose attention it has slipped, please do likewise ASAP! Statements will continue to be sent out by our treasurer.

As a reminder, the levy for 2022 was increased only marginally - and there was no increase in 2021 due to Covid disruptions. It is as follows:

Annual Levy: R4 950 (2021 – R4 830)

Monthly Levy: R440 pm (2021 – R430)

Imagine Leisure Isle without LIRA?

The LIRA-funded 24/7/365 security service, rendered by Allsound, is proactive ie it stops the baddies from even thinking about committing a crime. And that's why LI has such a low crime rate, and why we all sleep peacefully at night - a luxury not afforded to many open suburbs in SA.

And it's why every home-owner should be a member... The monthly fee for immense peace of mind is equivalent of but a restaurant meal for two, maybe. Can you afford not to be a member?

STEENBOK RESERVE NEWS

 
All the latest news from the Steenbok Reserve management team can be read in their latest March 2022 newsletter, an always fabulously interesting report.....
 

Catching up with the Knysna Basin Project

 
You can catch up on the ongoing work and research of this valued NGO via a newsletter they issued at the end of last year...
 

The house on the Head


With its "in-your faceness" for all who live on and visit Leisure Isle, we thought it time to find out if this building will ever be finished.

Our queries below were answered by Hennie Smit, Acting Director: Planning & Economic Development, at KM.
  • Why was building halted for over a year? Construction was stopped by the municipality because the owner deviated from his approved building plan and a delay was further caused by the fact that the lawyers had to reach a settlement agreement.
  • What were the objections to its finalisation, and why have these objections now gone away?  The owner deviated from his approved building plan. He was required to submit deviation plan for approval which was approved approximately two weeks ago. Concerns from Town Planning and Environmental Planning Departments were addressed.
  • Is this a private home, or a guest house/hotel? It’s a private home
  • Many have commented on how such a massive construction on a mostly pristine headland ever got the official KM green light? The development is within its development parameters in terms of the Knysna Zoning Scheme Bylaw and no additional land use rights had to obtained.
  • Were these plans put out for public comment? Building plans do not require public comment.
Smit also added that construction has recommenced, albeit this is not currently obviously visible.

Knysna Municipality Useful Contacts


All Sections Office Hrs: 044 302 6300
Customer Services: SMS 44453; customercare@knysna.gov.za
Emergencies 24 Hrs:  044 302 8911
Septic tank waste: 044 302 6331
Note that the 'honey sucker' function has been moved from Solid Wast Dept to the Water & Wastewater section of Infrastructure Services.
 

Report illegal baiting here!

The all-hours SANParks Rangers' Estuary Duty number is 082 269 5007. Use this to report illegal activities.

For SANParks Knysna general enquiries: 044 382-2095.
WHAT LIRA DOES FOR YOU!
* Provides 24/7 proactive security
* Sponsors Steenbok Nature Reserve
* Champions peak season law enforcement
* Liaison/lobbying Knysna Municipality
* Liaison Nature Conservation/SANParks
* Beautification of LI
* Employment of gardeners
* Hosts Leisure Isle Festival
* Maintains property values and unequalled lifestyle
* Dedicated volunteer committee serving your interests

SPREAD THE LIRA NEWS!
 
LIRA would like as many Islanders as possible to receive these newsletters.

If you have family members, tenants or friends who would be interested in getting our news, we'd like to add them to our mailing database. Please send email details to Brenda Neall.
 
We welcome your comments and feedback on this newsletter. And your input, too! Your news, ideas, stories, happenings are welcome.

Correspondence: 
Brenda Neall, website & newsletter

To contact LIRA chairperson, Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor: 
Email her here, or call 082 651 3767.

LIRA website: www.leisureisleknysna.co.za
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LIRA · 16 Thornely Rd · Leisure Isle · Knysna, WCape 6571 · South Africa

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