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LIRA Newsletter

December 2013
News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
Why LIRA is important: * Holistic island security, our 'Bobby on the beat' * Steenbok Nature Reserve * Peak season law enforcement * Liaison/lobbying Knysna Municipality * Liaison Nature Conservation/SANParks * Beautification of LI * Employment of two full-time gardeners * Leisure Isle Festival * Maintaining property values and unequalled lifestyle * Professional and dedicated volunteer committee serving your interests

Dear Leisure Islander,

Welcome to our fourth newsletter of 2013....
Notice of LIRA AGM - Please attend!

LIRA's AGM will again take place in mid-December to attract as many seasonal/visiting homeowners as possible. The agenda will be:
1. Confirmation of the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 18 December 2012.

2. Report of the Committee 2013.

3. Consideration and approval of the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 October 2013. Copies of the statements will be available at the meeting. Please contact the chairman if you require a copy prior to the meeting.

4. Approval of the budget and member levies for the year ended 31 October 2014. The budget will be presented at the meeting.

5. Election of Committee members.

Date: Thursday 19 December 2013
Place: Country Club, Leisure Isle
Time: 17H30
Please contribute to our Christmas Collection for our LI security guards!

AS all LI residents are aware, the issue of law enforcement and curbing of anti-social behaviour at Bollard Bay and Green Hole during the summer season and public holidays has long been a contentious issue, one clouded in politics and an inconsistent approach in policing. Things are about to change!

After continuous lobbying by LIRA and our ward councillor of the municipal authorities, we are thrilled to announce that KM will be adopting a NO TOLERANCE approach this festive season, in ALL OF KNYSNA.

Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring, has advised LIRA of the following, as  members have already been advised in an earlier e-mailed notice:
  • Green Hole and Bollard Bay will be patrolled by 16 law enforcement officials on weekends and public holidays, starting from Dec 1 to Jan 31, from 09h00 to 20h00.
  • Two lifeguards will be on duty over the same period.
  • NO ALCOHOL will be allowed to be consumed on any of the beaches, braai areas or public spaces. The usage of alcohol is strictly prohibited at any of these public amenities and control measures will be strictly enforced.
  • Road blocks will be held and additional officials will be allocated to ensure control around the New Year's Eve parties on the beaches, especially Bollard Bay.
  • The making of fires on the beach is also strictly prohibited. Use must be made of the built braai facilities or portable braais.
  • Residents and visitors walking dogs are requested to use leads and ensure that dog waste is disposed of in a hygienic manner.

Comments LIRA chairman, Keith Hollis: "This is a very welcome development by the municipality, and one we've strived to achieve for many years. Our thanks to all KM officials in recognising that the prevarication over the by-laws could not continue.
   "Sadly, it has seemingly taken the drowning of a precious child for KM to find the political will to implement and police the law - if any positive can be extracted from Naledi Ncaza's tragic death, then this is it."
   He stresses that while this may be an unpopular decision for those people who don't abuse alcohol or behave badly, it is the civic duty of all LI residents, their guests and visitors to observe the municipality's no-drinking by-law.

Contact numbers of officials (in case of emergency):
S Langlands - 082 339 3931: R Meyer - 082 922 8605
C Van Rensburg - 072 741 0314
Hugely successful Leisure Isle Festival!
THE eleventh Leisure Isle Festival held over the last weekend of October was a resounding success; the weather was perfect, the stall holders were happy, the vibe was amazing and the financial result 20% up on the previous record
achieved in 2011, reports event convenor, Roger Voysey.
   "Not only was R152 000 raised to support five of our local charities but, over the two days, in excess of R400 000 was spent by the hundreds of enthusiastic customers," he says.
   "Generating more than a third of a million rands worth of economic activity is a meaningful event for our town. Perhaps best of all, was achieving this in such a congenial manner. This speaks volumes about what can be achieved when communities work together.
   "The organisers extend their sincere thanks to sponsors, customers, stall holders, the neighbouring residents and the team of volunteers who worked so hard to make the weekend the stunning success that it turned out to be."
   The five beneficiaries are Hospice, e-Pap Children’s Feeding Scheme, KAWS, Steenbok Nature Reserve and Loeriehof Old Age Home.
   Well done to Roger and his team! LIRA applauds a magnificent effort to raise funds for deserving causes, help local craft entrepreneurs and build the Leisure Isle brand.
Feedback: Special meeting with Councillor Michelle Wasserman, representing LI in Ward 9,
on September 26, 2013.

LI's Ward 9 councillor, Michelle Wasserman, was invited and agreed to attend a public meeting in the Cearn Hall in late September.
   Unfortunately, there was a disappointingly small turnout of only some 30 people, despite this being a great opportunity to question her on important and vexing issues relating to both Leisure Isle and Knysna.
   Michelle is an approachable, proactive and forthright representative of our Ward - and she did not duck the bad, dubious, unanswered and promising aspects of local govt responsibilities in Knysna. We are lucky to have her on our side.
   One left the meeting in two minds, unsurprisingly. On the one hand, Michelle stressed that our local government is well aware of our issues, gripes and concerns, and does not underestimate the value of our substantial rates' contribution to the municipal coffers.
   On the other, she also emphasised that it has to deal with inherited neglected infrastructure, and the conflicting concerns of very affluent and very poor communities to a level where all find it acceptable - mostly an impossible task!
Pictured: LIRA vice chairman, Ricky Maskew, with Michelle Wasserman.
Eight facts about Knysna's rich
eelgrass/seagrass beds
1. The Knysna Estuary is SA's foremost locality for seagrass, containing more than half the entire country's seagrass meadow. The dominant species is Cape eelgrass (Nanozostera capensis).
2. Seagrass is not grass, but more closely related to lilies, gingers and arums. They are the only flowering plants that are able to live their whole lives submerged in seawater and even flower under water.
3. Seagrass meadows may appear uniform, monotonous and lacking interest. But they teem with life - small and most hidden from sight.
4. A survey in late summer 2011 along the north shore of Leisure Isle found an average of over 6,200 small animals living at or just below each m2 of surface, and a total of more than 90 species, including 35 types of worm, 25 crustaceans, 12 sea-snails, 6 sea-slugs, and one each of starfish, brittlestars, sea-urchins and sea-cucumbers.
5. Seagrass is globally ranked the third-most valuable natural habitat 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.
6. Illicit pumping for prawns and trenching for worms in the Marine (Bait) Reserve, and lack of policing, is threatening the seagrass - despite the reserve status. Fortunately, as a whole, the Knysna seagrass beds are suffering less than most, but pressure is unlikely to decrease.
7. Walking across seagrass beds is not encouraged as it's very sensitive to trampling.
8. Marine biology expert, Prof Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project and LI resident, says that currently, the eelgrass is not spreading, and while of concern, the eelgrass meadows' size and health are cyclical and constantly shifting.
Extracts from an article by Dr Richard Barnes, long-time Cambridge Zoology Dept academic, and also at Rhodes University.
See more at the Steenbok Nature Reserve website
For all SANPark issues, contact Mark Phillips, 079 115 0625

We welcome your comments and feedback on this newsletter. And your input, too! Your news, ideas, stories, happenings are welcome.

LIRA wants 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.   
The LIRA Committee wishes fellow Islanders, and all our visitors, a happy, safe and relaxing Festive Season!

ONLY 62% of Leisure Isle property owners are LIRA members - please encourage those who aren't members to join!
   LIRA is your voice, a powerful voice, in influencing local government in Knysna, in your interest. We need everyone's support and contribution!
   A LIRA-less alternative is not worth thinking about!

LI Christmas Carol Service

THE annual LI Christmas Carol evening promises to be the best ever, with great sound planned and the collective voices of the Oakhill School choir!
Thanks to Sotheby's for its organising and sponsorship of the event.
Venue: LI Entrance Park
When: Friday, December 20, 7pm
In case of rain: Sunday, December 22, 7pm
Beneficiaries: Our valued LI guards and their families

Tragic drowning of child at Green Hole

KNYSNA was shocked at the tragic and unnecessary drowning of 8-year old Naledi Ncaza of Joodeskamp on Sunday, November 3, off Green Hole.
   Islanders Tony Cook, and Susan and Paul (jnr) Kotze, were out boarding and boating when they came across her body adrift in the current in the late afternoon. Despite their best, brave efforts and those of the NSRI and medics, she could not be resuscitated.
   The tragedy once again brought pressure on the authorities to enforce the Knysna Municipal by-laws which forbid public consumption of alcohol, notoriously ignored by those picnicking at Green Hole, and which from eyewitness accounts appears to have played a significant role in the lack of supervision given children swimming there that day.
   Although the water was only waist deep, there was a strong outgoing spring tide at the time.
   "I am so sad, and also angry, about what happened. It was so unnecessary and so shocking ... I have told the acting municipal manager that the enforcement of our by-laws has to be addressed urgently and properly. I will be taking the matter up with him and the mayor until I have a solution that I think will prevent this from ever happening again," said Ward 9 councillor, Michelle Wasserman, at the time.
   Hopefully, the stricter control measures being put in place by the municipality this December/January will stop any such repeat tragedy - see notice left.
   LIRA will remain committed and vigilant in putting pressure on the authorities to enforce our by-laws, prevent anti-social behaviour on the island - and protect our property and its value.

Estuary water quality

IT'S perfectly safe to swim in the estuary - do not believe any talk to the contrary!
   KM tests and reports on the E Coli count at 15 sites every month. See more at the KM website.

Welcome visitors to The Heads

TWO Southern Right whales investigated The Heads on October 3 - a lovely sighting captured here by LIRA vice chairman, Ricky Maskew.


No pavement poisons, PLEASE!

RECENTLY, LI resident Colin Carter, had a most distressing incident while walking his dog - the hound gobbled up Snailban which a fellow resident had used on flower beds outside his house.
   The dog was violently ill, but luckily survived. Colin's wallet was left as empty as his precious pet's stomach after emergency treatment by the vet.
   Apparently, the party involved was not aware that this 'snail-icide' was poisonous to animals and birds.
   PLEASE don't use poisons in public areas such as pavements - it's dangerous and could lead to a personal liability claim, never mind the loss of bird and animal lives.


LEAD SA, for those who don't know, is a civic movement borne after World Cup 2010 to capture and continue the spirit of citizenship, pride and goodwill that epitomised the soccer event.
   It is the initiative of Primedia's radio stations, Radio 702, Cape Talk and KFM, and The Argus. Goodness knows, we need buckets of it in SA today!
   So, in this spirit, LIRA is calling on all members to Lead SA when they're enjoying the island, and to carry a plastic bag with them and pick up any litter they come across in and around the lagoon.
   And further, to make sure the same is done with their dogs' pooh, and be on patrol to see that others do so, too! The quantity of pooh in Steenbok is still a disgrace, even in this more-aware age.
   Above is a collection of 20 or so rusting bottletops, and some glass, collected in but  five minutes on a Monday morning stroll on Bollard Bay, north section.
   Not nice for little feet, for any bare feet, and horrible on the eye!

Another way to Lead SA...
SO MANY domestic and other workers on the island are beholden to erratic and expensive taxis to get to and from work.
   Please lift 'em, if you can - it's so easy, costs nothing, their gratitude is an unbounded delight, and you get to glow!

That BLOT on the landscape!
LAST newsletter, we reported on the very ugly road equipment storage yard set up recently on George Rex Drive near the golf driving range by the Eden District Municipality (EDM), without the blessing of the Knysna Municipality.
   It is another sullying aspect to what should be Knysna's most scenic road, and LIRA has expressed its strong objections to KM.
   Good news! LIRA has been informed that EDM has been offered an alternative piece of land by KM, and has also been notified that it must also comply with KM's building by-laws.

The African Black Oystercatcher
- a bird to cherish for the holiday season

THIS striking wader with glossy black plumage, orange-red eye-ring, large orange beak and pink legs can be seen foraging on the mud flats adjacent to the northern shores of the Steenbok Nature Reserve, and is now frequently seen on the western side.

   The African Black Oystercatcher is territorial, and the same pair breeds in the same place year after year. They mate for life and are known to live for over 18 years. They usually lay only two eggs in a nest which is a scrape in the sand within 30m of the high water mark.
   The species is under threat because its peak breeding season coincides with the height of the summer holiday season.  
   Increased human activities and domestic dogs disturb the birds, who fly away and expose the eggs and chicks to predation by kelp gulls.   
   The 2010-2011 breeding season for the entire Knysna lagoon area produced only six survivors. The Ashmead Channel area recorded no surviving chicks, compared to three in the 2009/2010 season.  
   Oystercatchers hunt for food only at low tide, so if disturbed do not have enough time to collect food for themselves and their chicks before the tide comes in again. The preservation of the invertebrate reserve adjacent to SNP should help to make it easier for pairs breeding nearby to obtain sufficient food without being disturbed.
   Because of concern over the future of the African Black Oystercatcher, the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town has set up an Oystercatcher Conservation Programme to monitor and develop a conservation strategy.
Source: Leonie Twentyman-Jones, on