NEWS CLIPS - December 2011

Annual General Meeting
There was a good turnout for the LIRA Annual General Meeting held a week ago. Pending issue of the formal minutes that will be posted to the website in January, the following is a brief report to keep members informed:

Against the background of the deteriorating security situation in Knysna comprehensive reports were presented by Keith Hollis (Chairman), Johan De Bruyn (LIRA Security) and Declan Nurse (Allsound): The first incident on Leisure Isle occurred on 23 October 2011. Since then there have been another 8 incidents:
  • Tidswell Ave x 2, Cearn Dr x 1 attempted break in, Parkes Lane x 1, The Grove x 1, Cearn Dr x 1, Stolen vehicle x 1 Suspects arrested, Bayswater x 1 Vehicle broken into and De Smit Dr x 1
  • All the incidents have been investigated with Allsound. Most appear to have been opportunistic but some may have been targeted.
  • In all cases no alarm was armed (or there was no alarm) and a considerable number of houses were found to have open (unbarred ) windows and open doors.
  • LIRA has emailed two notices to members and a third security notice has been "hand delivered" to each home.
  • Allsound had a one night "Leisure Isle saturation" on 6 December involving 5 of their vehicles, members of SAPS and our own guards. 20 unbarred windows were open in 20 homes!!!

Additional measures for Allsound presence during the season include:
  • Xmas day and New Years Day – Allsound senior manager on duty: 08h00-18h00
  • Allsound vehicle will patrol Leisure Isle on a dedicated basis from 19h00-07h00 over the three long weekends. (Cost R15 000)
  • Measures to control behaviour and by-law compliance over peak periods have been canvassed with KM and SAPS

Crime has hit the region. November break-ins in Knysna are up 71% and there were 30 attempted break-ins in Sedgefield in October.

It is recognised that the Island weak spot is Green Hole and focus will be applied on this area.

On 9 December, following identification of a vehicle and registration plate, two arrests were made in Paradise. Since then there have been no further incidents on Leisure Isle and it is possible that those arrested were responsible for all the incidents detailed above. However there is a further suspect whose photograph has been circulated and the movements of the suspect are being closely monitored.

The meeting applauded the actions taken and the plans put in place by the joint security team.

Finance and Budget
The financial statement for the year was presented and reflects an accumulated surplus at 31 October 2011of R55407. Member levies for the new year have been increased for annual contributors to R3200 and for those paying monthly to R270. The budget for this year shows a small deficit of R13364. Copies of the financial statement and the budget will be posted to the website in January
LIRA membership was reported as 320 contributing members representing 82% of potential residents/home owners on the Island. A campaign in mid year to increase membership produced moderate success.

Gum Tree Proposal
A proposal by the LIRA Committee “that a long term plan for the replacement of the Links Drive gum trees be implemented” was unanimously adopted. The plan involves thinning out (eight trees will be removed), pruning and gradual replacement with trees and shrubs indigenous to Leisure Isle. Full details are contained in October News Clips, which can be accessed at the end of this issue, or can be viewed at the Leisure Isle Library. Knysna Municipality will be requested to proceed with removal of the specific trees and progress could be hastened by donations earmarked for this project.

Committee Appointments
Sheen Mare and Ian Huskisson indicated that they were not available for re-election to the committee and Viv Leach was appointed as a committee member. Sheena and Ian were thanked for their dedicated service as committee members and it was reported that Ian had served as Treasurer for eight years.

Details of other activities of the Committee over the past year were summarised and are fully covered in the Committees Report that appears in November News Clips which can be accessed at the end of this issue.

Protect our Knysna Estuary
Ricky Maskew who looks after the Environmental Portfolio for LIRA has submitted this interesting, yet disturbing information, and appealed for all to assist.

The Knysna estuary is threatened by the plundering of the estuary at low tide by bait poachers. These people dig in the estuary with spades and other implements, in their search for mud prawn and a variety of worm, and sell the bait to the more affluent recreational fishermen. These poachers totally ignore bait sanctuaries in the estuary. The areas where bait collecting is prohibited are clearly indicated in the following map.

Fishermen who buy bait from the poachers are the real criminals as they have created the market for these poachers. Bait collection pressure of this magnitude could eventually lead to the loss of the seagrass beds and ultimately leaving our grandchildren with a sterile estuary?

Please report the illegal catching & selling of bait to SANPARKS:
Senior Section Ranger Knysna is KK - 083 635 7357
Garden Route National Park - 044 382 2095
Think before you buy bait

Extract from an article "Maintaining an Invisible Balance" written by Professor Brian Allanson
"The Knysna estuary has the largest tidal volume of water in South Africa. The water fills the estuary, spreading over the salt marshes to replenish nutrients and flush out waste. The Knysna estuary has the largest remaining estuarine salt marsh and more than half the entire country's seagrass meadow.

Salt marshes play a pivotal role in preserving the marine ecological balance. They offer shelter and food to a myriad of animals living in the shallows of inter-tidal zones and protect the underlying sediment from erosion. Without eel-grass, a major component in the protection of fish life would be lost.

An important feature of the estuary is the sanctuary it offers to marine fish. Young fish which are hatched in the sea move into protected waters and grow to a size which allows them to return with comparative safety to the sea. Species such as Grunter and Cape Stumpnose are extremely slow growers and if the estuary is depleted of main fish species, it follows that there will be a death of some species in the ocean as well."

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