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LIRA Newsletter

December 2015
News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
What LIRA does for home owners: * 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 * Professional and dedicated volunteer committee serving your interests

Dear Leisure Islander,

Welcome to this December newsletter ....
Collect your new LIRA house sign! 

New house sign

AFTER much tweaking of possible designs, this new LIRA house sign is about to make a début - at the LIRA AGM on December 3, that's tomorrow!
They are FREE, but if you would like a second sign - if you have more than one entry/aspect - there will be a charge of R50 for the second.
Many members will not be at the AGM, and so the alternative is to collect the signs at Sotheby's who has kindly agreed to act as distribution agents.
The signs are supplied with double-sided tape on the back, but you can obviously use other means to affix them on walls, gates, windows etc.
Designed to be eye-catching and bold, the new LIRA sign aims to instill pride of membership, and also to encourage non-contributors to join LIRA.
We urge every member to display theirs - loud and proud and visible! It is YOUR contribution and civic-mindedness that help all sleep soundly on Leisure Isle.
And you have noticed the big new complementary signage on the reverse of the island map at the entrance?
We hope both signs will be a big boost to further raising awareness of LIRA's work and importance to all ratepayers, residents and visitors.

A fabulous Festival!

THIRTEEN years ago Roger Voysey founded this community event, one that provides a wonderfully congenial marketplace for local artists, crafters and businesses, produces meaningful fundraising opportunities for local charities and does this all in a way that demonstrates what "community is all about".

The 2015 Festival was MAGNIFICENT! Beautiful weather for both days, along with much hard work and enthusiasm by the organising committee and vendors alike, and big support from flocks of visitors, produced a great Festival.

The upshot? It generated over R200 000 for the beneficiary charities to help their good works.

Says stalwart organiser, Peter Godsell, "On behalf of the local charities, we thank our brilliant organising committee, the hard-working crew, Sotheby's and all of the other generous sponsors and donors, Knysna Tourism, our delightfully enthusiastic exhibitors and, of course, the generous customers.

"This is a community that works together. This is a community that works. Well done Knysna!"

Sadly, this is the final year that Roger (left) will be the festival convenor and we bid him farewell with sincere gratitude for 13 years of dedicated leadership. Leisure Isle, and Knysna at large, are greatly indebted to this energetic and committed community leader.

However, we are happy to report that Roger will not really be retiring as he will continue to lead the Steenbok Nature Reserve initiative.
Of course, the Leisure Isle Festival now needs a new project leader, so Peter asks every body to put their thinking caps on to help  find a volunteer to continue this wonderful annual event that does so much to build community.
Knysna Sanlam Awards
The Leisure Isle Festival has been nominated for the Knysna Sanlam Awards in the "Best Tourism Activity" category. This is an award which aims to recognise initiatives that make a difference to our town.

The winner is decided by the number of votes received. So we encourage you to support our project by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page and encouraging others to do the same.

It is a four step process: Click here, then scroll down to "Best Tourism Activity by Knysna and Partners" Section, open it, find Leisure Isle Festival and VOTE!

Upgraded security floodlights at LI entrance
IRONICALLY, just as LIRA upgraded the entrance floodlighting a few months ago, including adding an inverter system for periods of load-shedding, Eskom got to improve its act and there hasn't been one outage since!
Nonetheless, this has been an important improvement to our security infrastructure as, should there be a blackout, the almost total darkness at the guard hut intersection could be a potential point of vulnerability.
Various options were considered to select a cost-effective solution. The previous power hungry floodlights were replaced by five 50 Watt LED units, rated for a normal life exceeding 30 000 hours, or ± eight years. The existing cables were used. The floodlights are powered from the mains supply under normal conditions, but within 20 milliseconds of a power failiure, the supply to the lights is taken over by a battery-powered inverter.

The significantly reduced power requirement made it possible to specify a relatively small 1100VA pure sine wave inverter and still have surplus capacity should we need to add additional units. The automatic built-in battery charging function is well suited to the specified batteries that should have a life in excess of five years, even if load shedding were to occur once a night every night of the year.

Care was taken to avoid under-specifying the components of the system, and we believe the balanced package will result in good total cost of ownership over a five to eight-year period.
LIRA thanks committee member, Peter Dieterich, for his dedicated and conscientious realisation of this project.
Knowing more about our estuary
THE Knysna Basin Project (KBP)is a busy local NGO, directed by LI's own marine biology expert, Emeritus Prof Brian Allanson, that undertakes and coordinates extensive research and educational efforts into numerous aspects of the biosphere that is the Knysna estuary - covering all its incredibly diverse fauna and flora, as well as its water quality.
There's often comment that the estuary is not in good shape, polluted, nor fit for swimming, but that's simply not true.
Indeed, it is subject to many environmental threats and issues, but it is teaming with life in balanced diversity, coliform counts are well below acceptable limits, and the estuary is its own great cleaning machine - a big Indian Ocean washout, some 19m cubic meters, twice a day - helped along by numerous species feeding on/filtering any pathogenic bacteria. The only thing lacking are fish stocks, a result of over-fishing.
Sea lettuce invasion
One ongoing project, in conjunction with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in PE, is investigating the current bloom of opportunistic macroalgae (Ulva lactuca or sea lettuce) that has been a concern for the past year. It is working to identify the causes responsible for this bloom and to establish suitable management actions.
Two other interesting projects involve monitoring the vibrant sea horse population, the delightful and endemic Hippocampus capensis, around Thesen Island, as well as the success of the most abundant invasive alien species, the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, that is now found on all man-made hard structures. It is especially abundant from The Heads to the Railway Bridge.
KBP has an excellent website where you can read all about its work, and join or support the organisation... Click here
Thurs 3 December 2015
AS per our earlier notice, this will be held at 17h30 at the Leisure Isle Country Club/Bowling Club.
   Bar available, snacks afterwards, donation box for guards' Christmas bonus, AND collection of new house signs.
   Please be there! There is much to hear about and ask about, no less the KM Council meeting on December 10 regarding the highly publicised 'drinking in public' proposal.
   We can assure you that our chairman, Keith Hollis, is working tirelessly, along with other residents' associations, to oppose this proposal.
Reports on this sorry saga from the
Knysna-Plett Herald:
'The whites go out on their boats and suip, so why can't we?'
NEVILLE Korkee, a Hornlee community leader asked at the public meeting: "Are we on the road back to apartheid?"
   When Ward 9 councillor, Mark Willemse, led the Hornlee public participation meeting on the controversial, proposed public drinking, this week, it was a meeting characterised by allegations of racism. He had repeatedly warned residents not to play the race card....
DA dealt a stinging blow
DISTRUST in the Knysna DA as the town's governing party was put to the test at their first feedback meeting in the run-up to the 2016 local government elections....
Public drinking is out, worldwide
WHAT a hullabaloo here in our beloved little town over an issue that has become so simple worldwide!
   In Knysna we now have a public brawl over the issue of drinking in public places when in most of world the debate is over and drinking in public by anybody of any age, colour, religion or creed is simply outlawed....

Steenbok Park turns 10!
IT was ten years ago that LIRA and Knysna Municipality formally agreed that the northern shores of Leisure Isle be set aside as a Nature Reserve in perpetuity - that the area is nurtured and protected for the benefit of current and future generations.
   What vision! Steenbok surely has to be one of the most popular and well-used open spaces in all of Knysna - and congratulations to the Steenbok Management Committee for their continued hard work and stewardship of the park.
Click here for all the latest Steenbok news, including the fact that the new entrance garden was recently host to a young Angulate tortoise. This is the first reported sighting for about four years and the first in this area of the reserve.
   The Knysna dwarf chameleon also enjoys the habitat.
Steenbok management also reports that it is "most conscious of the deterioration in recent times of the standard of various services and offer our apologies.
   "These arose as a result of unforeseen circumstances. They are now history and a concerted effort is underway to get back to normal in time for the holiday season." 
   Steenbok Park has a great new website,
click here:

 Property matters!
SOME snippets from Sotheby's Sheena Maré:

There is a change in our buyer profile, with fewer people looking to buy a holiday home, but rather they are looking for a permanent residence that they intend moving to in the near to medium-term future.

There is an increase in people who are moving to our town for the lifestyle, climate and environment that the Garden Route has to offer. This bodes well for the property market.
We have less than 20 properties for sale on LI. Quite a change from the 55 properties we had a few years ago.
There have been likely 12 or more major house rebuilds/renovations on LI in the past year, and a lot more smaller-scale upgrades - all of which speak volumes about the confidence in our island.

Social members wanted!
THE Leisure Isle Country Club is encouraging 'social membership' - at an annual fee of R100. 
    This means you can become a member and meet locals, be inspired to tennis, bowl or read from the great in-club library, and enjoy a sundowner at the club. It is a very congenial watering hole!
   For more details, contact Alistair Mowatt on 044 384 0138.

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.

To contact our LIRA chairman, Keith Hollis: