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LIRA Newsletter

July 2015
News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
What LIRA does for home owners: * Provides island security, our 'Bobby on the beat' * 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 July newsletter ....

"Fun-Raisers" do more than just build LIRA funds!

Earlier this year, LIRA's sub-committee team of 'Fun-Raisers" did LIRA and the Leisure Isle community proud with two fabulously organised and well supported social events.
The Signature Music Evening at the Bowling Club in April was a sellout success - and some 120 Islanders and friends enjoyed a great meal, sponsored lucky-draw prizes, a hilarious group karaoke sing-along, with music provided gratis by Roy Taylor and Baden Hall, followed by much dancing and partying.
The upshot: R14k raised for LIRA's new camera initiative, and a warm and welcome dose of new community spirit.
Clockwise: Doney & Mary O'Regan (Irish swallows and LI stalwarts), Pru Baker (Rexford) John & Jill Fraser (Links Drive); Paul & Sue Kotze (Cearn Dr); Keith Hollis (Tidswell Ave) and Rose Marcantonis (Horne Dr); Greg & Nicky Pye (Tidswell Ave) with Alistair Gibb (Hart Rd); Sheena Maré (Cearn Dr) and Lindsay Twort (Steenbok Cres).
The Bingo Evening brought some old-fashioned-favourite fun to some 60 enthusiastic punters in late May, also held at the Bowling Club.

It was very ably MC'd by LI's adventure man/muso, Tony Cook (below) seen with Paul Kotze jnr.
The 'Fun-Raisers', notably Sue Kotze, put together an astonishing table of prizes - so many, in fact, that no-one went home empty handed even if they weren't lucky with the numbers. The Leisure Isle Coffee Shop's Nadine Cooke (great aptronym!) put on welcome soup and boerewors rolls.
The upshot: R5k raised for LIRA's improvement initiatives, and a second welcome dose of new community spirit. 
The 'Fun-Raising' team of Sheena Maré, Erica Allan, Viv Leach, Sue Kotze, Jenny Shields, Flynn and Lindsay Twort deserve great thanks, as do the many other helpers and generous sponsors.
They include Leisure Isle Lodge; Conrad Pezula; FoodLovers Market; Knysna Super Spar; Leisure Isle Bowling Club; Baden Hall and Roy Taylor; Peter Leach; Clive Walker; Peter Maré, Sothebys International Realty, and one anonymous donor who sponsored R5200 in tickets.
Thanks and insights from Sheena
Says Sheena Maré: "Deepest thanks to all who sponsored and attended these events - their big heartedness and encouragement reinforces my belief that we have a very special community of people living on our Island, and in Knysna as a whole!

"Talking about community, I have just read the book 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell where he details a study done in the USA on a community that seemed to outlive all the people in the surrounding towns. This research discovered that their longevity didn't have much to do with genes, diet or exercise, but rather with the close community life the town's folk enjoyed.

"People had time to chat and care for each other and each member of the community was valued and played their part. This, in turn, led to a sense of belonging and well-being which equated to a longer life span. Makes one think!

"We have all the ingredients of this on Leisure Isle - all we need is more time and opportunity to socialise. Giving Islanders this opportunity to get together and have fun is the main focus of 'Fun-Raising' team. Making money is a happy by-product to be used to enhance our Island.
"If anyone has any good ideas for activities or community events, please let me know. If you would like to offer your services, this would be even better!"
THANK YOU! Viva our 'Fun-Raisers'!
 A step up for LI's library with new computer facility!
IT'S probably fair comment to say that many islanders don't even know that LI has its own public library in Cearn Hall!

And a very well endowed one, it is, too, with a great selection of books, DVDs etc, lots of latest releases included.

It is very efficiently and personably managed by librarian Nadine Page (another great aptronym!) and her assistant, Nomfezeko Xhongo (above).

The pair have been working for some time to expand the library into an adjacent meeting room that was largely unused – and this was recently realised. Newly painted and floor spruced, it's now home to an enlarged children's section — with cosy Flokati rugs for lolling on as they read and select books — as well as a new computer hub.

Funding for the project was courtesy of KM as well as the dedicated Friends of the Knysna Library, while the computers were provided by the Western Cape government's Rural Connectivity Project.

There are four PCs, with excellent ADSL, and islanders and their visitors are welcome to use this facility. The first half hour of internet use is free, thereafter it's R10 per half hour.

Nadine and Nomfezeko report that, despite its small size, Cearn Hall library is the fourth busiest of the ten libraries in the greater KM area, and that growing numbers of islanders of all ages are making use of it, despite the ubiquity of smart devices.

Use of the library is free for rate payers, while visitors should ideally use a member's card, but they can also enroll as a temporary member by paying a deposit.

The library has also had extended opening hours for some time now: Tues-Fri: 09h00 – 17h00; Sat: 09h00 – 12h30. Tel: 044 302 6311.  
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who
never reads lives only one."
Jojen, fictional character, A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin
Extended Rotary-George Rex pathway – a step closer? 
PHASE three of the pedestrian/cycling pathway project along George Rex Dr has taken an important step forward with the recent approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as follows:
  • The western side of George Rex Dr from Howard St to a short distance past the Bigai stream culvert near Greenhole, and
  • The southern side of Armstrong Rd (the causeway) from George Rex Dr to the Leisure Isle guard hut.
By way of background, this project began some ten years ago when all Rotary Clubs in the world were requested to identify a Rotary Centenary project that would benefit the community in their home town and be a permanent credit to Rotary. Rotary Knysna opted to facilitate the building of a paved foot and cycle path from the N2 to The Heads, a distance of 4.5km.

This project was supported by the Knysna Municipality, SANParks and other stakeholders. Phases one and two were completed and opened in December 2009. Funding for these two phases came from the Western Cape Provincial Government, Eden District Municipality and KM. Rotary Knysna funded the bridge at the intersection of George Rex and Vigilance Drives.

So where to now?
Outgoing Ward 9 councillor, Michelle Wasserman, advised before she departed in May that the EIA has been completed, but that Phase 3 of the project will only go ahead when there is funding. No provision for this project has been made in the Knysna Municipal 2015/2016 draft budget.

In querying the project's status, KM's Director Planning and Development, Mike Maughn-Brown, told her this: "[Knysna Municipality] is going to be looking at the whole George Rex tourist/recreational corridor with a view to Public Private Partnerships, possible calls for proposals and so on. I expect that we will be seeing substantial investment there (which would certainly include the boardwalk) over the next few years. Whether it will happen in the next financial year, however, I would rather doubt."

Bring it on! LIRA is firmly behind this project and believes it will be a hugely positive development, especially considering the volumes of working and recreational feet and wheels that traverse this route every day. LIRA will obviously participate where it can.

Knysna joins the parkrun phenomenon 
HAVE you heard of the parkrun? 
This is a FREE weekly, timed 5km event for runners or walkers of all standards that takes place every Saturday at 8:00am in some 700 locations in 12 countries, and to date has attracted over one million registrants.

parkruns are held in pleasant parklands and are based on these simple, principles: weekly, free, 5km, for everyone, forever.

Bruce Fordyce, holder of the SA parkrun franchise, asked a fellow Comrades Marathon stalwart in Knysna, Ken Wilkinson, to start the concept here. Thus was it born in January and currently attracts an average of 100+ people, including several LI residents.
The route is along the boardwalk just past Loerie Park to the Thesen Island road and back, and is managed by Ken and a team of volunteers.

"parkrun offers an opportunity for the local community, young or old, to come together on a regular basis to enjoy some beautiful surroundings and get physically active into the bargain," says LI's Des Wearne who does volunteer parkrun duty most Saturday mornings.
"It is not a race against other runners, but aims to encourage people to walk, jog or run together irrespective of their ability. It's truly open to all and, best of all, it really is FREE!

"Taking part is easy – just register online, print your barcode before your first parkrun, and then just set your alarm for Saturday morning and get yourself there!"

There's great report-back, too – and a few hours after the run, participants get their time and all the details of how they were placed on the day.
See more at

By-Election Ward 9 - Leisure Isle
Wednesday 22 July 2015
REMEMBER to head to Cearn Hall this Wednesday to vote in the municipal by-election for Ward 9.
   This follows the resignation of previous incumbent, the DA's Michelle Wasserman.      
   There are 3 940 Ward 9 voters, while in neighbouring Ward 10, 3 585 potential voters will choose a new councillor to replace the DA's Richard Dawson, who, like Wasserman, resigned at the end of May.
   The DA's candidate to contest Wards 9 is Mark Willemse, the Knysna DA's operations manager; the ANC candidate is Donovan Pofadder; COPE's candidate is Ruth Christians; while Neville Korkee will stand for the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (ICOSA).
   Jaco Londt, MP and the constitutional leader of the DA in George and Knysna, has said the DA is positive that it will retain both the wards.
   The KM Council consists of ten DA, seven ANC, one COPE and one independent councillor. The DA will have to win both wards to continue governing Knysna as a majority.

New LIRA signs coming!

WE are currently in the process of producing new LIRA house signs for members to replace the old ones that are looking past their sell-by date.
   These will be complemented by big new signage on the reverse of the entrance map.
   They are bright and bold, designed for pride of membership, and also to encourage non-contributors to join LIRA.
   A dedicated mailing on this will follow when they are printed and available in the next few weeks.
   The rendering of the sign above is pretty close to the envisaged final design. We are also considering getting adapted smaller versions printed for car window decals.
Email us your vote/comments here

Winter beauties!
LI has enjoyed a spectacular winter in the gardening department, with the aloes better than ever.
   Aloe thraskii and arborescens, below, in Steenbok Park are such a beautiful sight at this time of the year.
The amazing Agave attenuata
LI is a garden paradise, full of beauty and variety, testament to our fortunate ample spike water supply and homeowners' enthusiastic green fingers.
   One popular plant on the island is the impressive agave succulent, Agave attenuata, some of which are displaying their dramatic flowering swansong, as pictured below.
   Agaves are generally slow growing and can take many years before they are ready to flower. They are monocarpic, meaning they bloom once at the end of their lifetime, with the attentuata putting out a very long stem covered in soft yellow flowers. Its weight causes it to bend in a graceful arch towards the ground which accounts for its common name 'swan's neck'.
   A quite spectacular way to die! 

Dramatic naval farewell
TWO of the SA Navy’s Mine Counter Measure (MCM) vessels, SAS Umzimkulu and SAS Umhloti, docked in Knynsa for the Oyster Festival, a long-standing and popular aspect of the ten-day festivities.
   They arrived a day apart and left together in some wild seas, as this photo depicts.
   The Knysna port is regarded as one of the ten most dangerous ports in the world, but reportedly coming in is far more tricky that heading out. 
KAWS hosts talk by Gill Marcus
GILL Marcus, the longtime ANC stalwart, struggle veteran, cabinet minister and former Reserve Bank governor is now resident in Knysna.
In aid of Knysna Animal Welfare Society, she will present a talk on this topic.
Date: 29 July 2015
Venue: Simola Hotel
Time: 17h30
Cost: R175, incl drink and snacks
         R150 for KAWS members
Booking essential!
Call Cathie Garner, C: 083 291 7967,

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.