NEWS CLIPS - - August 2011

Rates and Property valuations
Over the last few months LIRA has done a comprehensive analysis of over 300 property transactions in the Knysna area. Sales prices were compared to the municipal valuations and a statistical analysis of the variations was done for a sample of eight suburbs. This analysis, featured below in graphical format, provides evidence that Leisure Isle properties were overvalued compared to some of the other suburbs. In both cases the percentage by which actual sales prices were more than, or less than municipal valuations is plotted. The extent to which the 2007 Municipal Valuations exceeded the selling price of those properties which had been sold during the period surveyed, is shown on the left part of the graph.. The first graphic shows that in the 8 suburbs analysed (excluding Leisure Isle) there was an under-valuation.

The second graphic shows the opposite; a significant over-valuation in the case of Leisure Isle.
The study compared the municipal valuation of properties with the value of subsequent sales. These sales were concluded over a period covering 2008 -2011. As property values were declining over this period, it is not surprising that the statistical analysis shows that on average sales were below valuation levels. What is surprising is that for the other suburbs analyzed, the trend was the other way i.e on average the sales prices were above the valuations.

No conclusion can be drawn regarding the valuation of any individual property. However what the study does show is that the valuation methodology has not been consistent across suburbs.

Valuation Process

At the time of the first Municipal Valuations in 2007 the LIRA committee decided after careful consideration and consultation, not to resort to legal proceedings on the grounds that the valuations were fundamentally flawed. We were advised that any such application would be prohibitively costly, that the outcome was uncertain and further that, by the time the matter was ruled on, the next Valuation process could be in process. LIRA decided instead to engage with the authorities to get them to realise that there is a problem for property owners on Leisure Island and to offer assistance so that the matter could be addressed. Time will tell whether we have been successful.

The Municipality recently announced the winner of the tender for the compilation of the 2012 General Valuation Roll. It has been awarded to the same company that compiled the previous roll. There were eight parties involved and three companies short-listed. One party is appealing the Tender Board decision but it is understood that this is common throughout the country in tenders such as this. The law excludes LIRA and property owners from appealing against the appointment.

The Municipality has accepted that there have been problems in consistency and have committed to more stringent quality assurance in the upcoming valuation. They have further informed the appointed valuation company that LIRA will be part of the quality control mechanism.

Entrance Refurbishment
The outstanding response which we received to the Appeal for the funding of the new Security Hut resulted in a surplus considerably in excess of the budgeted cost of the Hut. LIRA was thus able to embark on Phase 2, the proposed upgrading of the area surrounding the Hut including refurbishment of the entire entry to the Island.

As previously advised this includes two low curved stone walls-one in front of the Security Hut, with the facility to hang white notice boards, and a matching wall on the opposite side of the entry road with LEISURE ISLAND signage in bold. Paving will be introduced from the road to the Hut, certain poles will be removed, new benches provided, signage improved and the gardens upgraded.

It had been hoped that we would be able to complete the full plan which includes the additional upgrade of the lay-bye and parking areas (more clearly and neatly demarcated and covered with stone chip). Unfortunately these additional enhancements which have been costed at approx. R39 000 will have to be deferred as we do not have the funding. Of course we would be delighted if any member who did not participate in the Appeal would wish to contribute toward this additional amount. Please phone Keith Hollis 082 4429290 or Email

Work will commence later this month and is planned for completion within six weeks. Supervision will again be undertaken by Paul Kotze assisted by Johan de Bruyn and Mike St Quinton.

Island Personalities
Damian Nichol is the second Islander to feature in this series of long-time residents of Leisure Isle. Damian, an Islander of long standing and a wise and resourceful man of great charm and character, first made his home on Leisure Isle in 1987. He and his wife Joan moved here from Cape Town, and built their house on land that they had bought some years before the Sharpeville shootings of 1961. Damian regards the Island as a wonderful place to live, with its small and friendly community, security and idyllic lifestyle. Here he has happily pursued his many interests with vigor and much pleasure, and has made his contribution to making the Island what it is today.

Damian’s story can be found by clicking here.
Lucy Cook’s story, first featured in June 2011 can be found by clicking here.

Commendable Action by the Guards
Two years ago Vani (our chief guard) challenged a man as to what his business was on the Island. The man who was lightly built with a narrow face and some facial hair looked suspicious. Using his cell phone Vani took a video clip and recorded the conversation.

Recently Vani identified this same person carrying two bags again entering the Island advising that business had brought him back. The guards unobtrusively monitored the man’s movements and established that he visited one of the local B&B’s. Vani warned the owners of the establishment that in his opinion there was something suspicious about this character. It turns out that the man stayed a night at the B&B and the next morning advised that he would like to spend a month there! He was told that he must pay for his one nights accommodation and if he wished to stay for a month payment up front would be required for the full period. With that he replied that he would go and collect the money but was never seen again.

Security Alert

Until last week Leisure Isle had not experienced a security incident for quite some while. Last year a laptop was removed from the study of a resident and with information given by the guards, supported by video camera images from the entrance, the SAPS were able to make an arrest.
However last week there was a similar incident with a laptop and cash stolen from a Links Drive home. To date no arrests have been made.

Following another incident Vani advised Margot Teeling Smith,
a LIRA member "We are always there for you"

Security Tips
  • Despite the excellent security service we enjoy from our guards, managed by Allsound Security, we are not immune from theft. Please do your bit by locking outside doors, closing windows not protected by burglar bars and shutting garage doors.
  • To those with or without an armed response service Allsound offers a remote which looks like a garage door opener which can be linked to an alarm. If you have one of these check that the battery is live.
  • For those people with a full Allsound Security Service ensure that you know how to use your Panic Button. The wall pad has a large single button in the right lower corner identified by a shield. To activate the alarm press this button but you must hold it depressed for a second or two. Once the radio has been activated you will hear the siren.
  • Traffic Police are fining motorists at the Entance Four-way stops for not stopping completely. Beware and adhere strictly to these stop signs.
Reaction of the guards to the new Guard Hut
  • It is much warmer than the old one and we don’t freeze anymore.
The Current LIRA Committee
The Lira committee meets monthly on the first Tuesday of each month at the Leisure Isle Boat Club. Members of the committee are elected at the annual general meeting held at the start of school holidays in December thus giving those not permanently resident on Leisure Isle the opportunity to attend. Where appropriate additional committee members are co-opted during the year.

The eleven LIRA members currently serving on the committee, each with a designated portfolio, are featured at the committee meeting held on 2 August. It will be seen from the photograph (two members were not available) that we currently only have one lady on the committee and this we would be delighted to change. Also we need to fill two vacancies; a secretary to help Keith with minutes, correspondence etc. and an outgoing personality with administrative skills to join the membership team. If interested please contact Keith on 082 442 9290.

Fate of Seagrass Beds hangs in the Balance
Knysna is not only, as the advertising slogans tell the visitor – 'South Africa’s Favourite Estuary' – but is also South Africa’s most important locality for seagrass, containing more than half of the entire country’s seagrass meadow. The shores around Leisure Isle, particularly those adjacent to Steenbok Nature Reserve and Kingfisher Creek, contain some of the best stands of seagrass in Knysna.

What is seagrass and why is it important?

Seagrass is not a type of grass, but rather flowering plants, usually with grass-like leaves, that are able to live their whole lives submerged in seawater. Seagrass meadows, like coral reefs, are centres of great biodiversity, highly productive and currently disappearing from the planet at an alarmingly fast rate. To date it is only the fate of the visually beautiful coral reefs that has stirred the public imagination.

The Knysna seagrass beds teem with a wide variety of life, but many of the life forms are small and most are hidden from sight. Earlier this year a survey along the northern shore of Leisure Isle by the eminent marine biologist, Dr Richard Barnes, revealed an average of over 6,200 small animals living at, or just below, each square metre of surface. These included crustaceans, sea-snails, worms, sea-slugs, sea-cucumbers and many others.

Some of these animals are of national or international significance. For example Knysna is the only place in the whole of Africa where one of the sea-slugs and one of the sea-snails is known to occur. Two other animals (the seagrass false-limpet and the ‘dwarf cushion-star’) found only in Knysna and at Langebaan on the West Coast, are threatened at their West Coast site because of the loss of their seagrass habitat. How much longer will they be safe here?

Seagrass is globally ranked as the third most valuable natural resource per unit area to humans. Seagrass beds filter nutrient and various chemical inputs out of the water, stabilise sediments and most importantly provide a nursery area for commercially-important species of prawns and fish, later to be caught in deeper water and offshore.

Their fate hangs in the balance

Although the beds along the northern shore of Leisure Isle lie within the Bait Reserve declared by the SA National Parks Board, there are very clear signs of illicit pumping for mud-prawns and trenching for worms.

Such extensive bait collecting could eventually destroy the seagrass, which is very sensitive to trampling and trenching in particular. Bait reserves are an important part of ensuring that there will be food for future generations. However, while it is simple to declare areas to be reserves, enforcement is a completely different matter. Often infringements are a matter of subsistence rather than leisure activity. Also most bait collectors in Knysna do not believe that their activities are harming the environment. It is clear that urgent new measures will be required to ensure a safe future for South Africa's premier seagrass site.

Click here to view the full text of this fascinating Seagrass story.

Contact Us
  • If you have any surplus fill (soil or sand) from building operations, new pool, underground tanks or garden upgrade please contact us as we have projects on which we can put it to good use.
  • LIRA needs to fill two vacancies; a secretary to help with minutes, correspondence etc. and an outgoing personality with administrative skills to join the membership team.
  • If you would like to exhibit or participate in any way in the Leisure Isle Festival to be held on the weekend of 22 & 23 October.
  • Your feedback on any matter is always appreciated.
  • If you would like to sponsor a bench in the gardens at the Entrance

Back Issues of LIRA News Clips
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