News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
View this email in your browser, particularly if you use Outlook

LIRA Newsletter
June 2018

Welcome to this update....

Proposal to site the 'Reflection Seed Pod' in Steenbok Park

This week is a poignant one for all in Knysna with the first anniversary tomorrow of the devastating fire of June 7, 2017.

With this in mind, LIRA has been asked by Steenbok management for input on a proposal to site a 'Reflection Seed Pod' in the park as a fitting memorial of the fire and all it encompassed, both the awful and the amazing.

The pod is a follow-on initiative launched by Jayne Brink and Gina Potgieter who, after the fire, started The Seed Shop project through their local businesses, Two on Toast and Madam Botany, an inspirational and thoughtful project to distribute aid to fire victims.

The duo is financing its construction, and believe Leisure Isle is a perfect site due to the fact that it was a safe haven for many families on that dreadful night, as well as being an inclusive, popular, well-managed space with a beautiful backdrop of Knysna.

You can read all about this pod initiative here... and it has generated much support on Steenbok's Facebook page, with over 11,000 views and dozens of positive comments - see these here. The Steenbok committee is in favour of this project.

The pictures below show an artist's impression of the pod, as well as its intended situation in the park, about 50m from the main entrance, just to the south side of the paved pathway. It will be three meters in diameter with nine thin blades reaching a maximum of four meters high. It will not impinge on any homeowners' views of the park.

But now we need your input on this project, to ascertain residents' support for it or not. Please click your option in the poll below...

And do read more on the link above for any issues or questions you may have with this. To emphasise, this is not a LIRA project and involves no cost to us.

Yes, I think this is a great initiative
No, I don't like this idea

Update on the seawall court case

The seawall case was argued before Judge Papier on May 30 in the Cape Town High Court.

Adv Derek Mitchell presented the LIRA case - that George Cearn had built the seawalls on his property, with the necessary authorisations, above the high water mark. Ownership of the public areas of Leisure Island subsequently passed to the Knysna Municipality who thus owns the seawall, and has the responsibility to effect repairs.

Adv Mitchell requested that the Court make a declaratory order confirming the Municipality’s ownership of the seawall. Noting the Municipality’s past refusals to effect repairs, he requested a structural interdict be made compelling them to inform the court how and when it intends to effect repairs.

Adv Farlam, for the Municipality, argued on the lack of proof that Cearn had built the walls on his property, and not below the then high water mark. Additionally, the fact that the water now reaches the walls changes ownership, as they are now below the current high water mark. Ownership therefore now vests in the State. In terms of current environmental legislation, it is not permissible to make repairs to the walls.

He argued further that even if the Court found that the walls belong to the Municipality, due to the difficulty in obtaining permission to work on the walls, and because the Municipality has limited resources and greater priorities, the Court should not grant a structural interdict which would be unenforceable.

Judge Papier will deliver a written judgment. Although no date has been set, we can expect the judgment within three months.

Alternative repair option

After the hearing Adv Mitchell requested Adv Farlam to again consider conveying to the Municipality LIRA’s proposal for interim repairs to the seawall.

This proposal puts forward a relatively quick and inexpensive approach to making repairs to the sections of the seawall that are currently collapsing. LIRA believes that this proposal will be of benefit to all parties in that it will prevent further costly deterioration of the seawall, pending the outcome of the court case.

We now await both the judgement and the Municipality’s response to our interim proposal. Members will be informed of future developments.

Update on the gum tree trimming

The second phase of the trimming of the Leisure Island gum trees is now complete.

In the first two phases 25 trees have been trimmed to remove dead, broken and dangerous branches, and to leave the trees in a healthy and attractive shape.

The total cost has been R133,915. Of this, LIRA has contributed R90,430, and residents have generously donated R43,485. The average cost per tree has been R5,357.

The Knysna Municipality has assured us that they will address the 12 remaining trees once their 2018/19 budget has been approved, and funds allocated. These trees include those in Kings Park, Hillview Park, and opposite the Bowling Club. The estimated cost of trimming these trees is R53,820.

The diagram below shows which trees have been trimmed, and also those which still need to be trimmed by the Municipality.

The visual impact of this project has been tremendous, with increased penetration of sunlight, and the removal of the ominously threatening branches overhanging Links Drive. As our botanist, Dr Hugh Glen, remarked, 'The trees have had quite a haircut!'

The response from residents and visitors has been very positive, and the cut branches were eagerly collected for firewood.

A big thank you to Hugh Glen, Paul Gerber from the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association, Charles Reitz of ReitzTreeCare and Pieter Boschoff and team from Singenza/TreePro for their expertise and enthusiasm in helping the Island with this challenging project.  

Improving the island's public spaces

Following on from the Green Hole and Woodbourne Drive bush-clearing projects, which were initiated and sponsored (sometimes controversially) by LIRA as a fire-prevention exercise, a new approach to improving the Island’s public spaces has been adopted.

With the assistance of Team Brave, Dave and Dave (left), local residents have initiated, undertaken and paid for a number of very successful community projects. In all cases the Municipality’s Parks and Recreation Department has supported and approved the projects, and undertaken to provide ongoing maintenance to the cleared areas.

The first of these was the extensive clearing and tree trimming around Cearn Hall. Neighbour Joy designed and implemented an attractive new garden, assisted by Carol, Shelley, and other skilled Island gardeners. The LIRA Fun-Raising group sponsored fencing and plants, and the Country Club has appointed contractors to repair and paint the exterior of the building.

Funds are also being sought to make improvements to the interior of the Hall and Library, with a view to making Cearn Hall a pleasant and convenient community facility.

Two small water’s edge projects have been completed – the first at the east side of Steenbok Nature Reserve, sponsored by Margaret and Leonie and neighbours, and the second adjacent to Bollard Bay (below).

Dead, tangled and overgrown bush has been trimmed and accumulated litter and the occasional puffadder removed. We must thank the Knysna Fire Department for sending a huge shiny red fire engine to transport the little puffy to a new home. In both these projects masses of unfriendly bush have been replaced by attractive, shaded waterside picnic spots.

A group of neighbours - Florence, Worried, Andrew, Andy and Dee, assisted by Dylan and assorted kids - recently tackled the park on Parkes and Hart Roads on a sunny Saturday morning. In a real family affair, masses of overgrowth and litter were removed, leaving the park much safer for children to enjoy and with its beautiful trees and shrubs now visible.

And finally Joan, Paul and neighbours of Kensington Park took the opportunity to employ TreePro to trim the dangerous gum tree and some lesser trees in this Park. Again the result has been impressive.

These projects acknowledge that the Municipality, with its limited resources and other pressing priorities, is often unable to provide the level of services we would like. These projects therefore harness the resources and energy of residents in improving this already awesome Island, building community spirit, and beautifying and making safer our many wonderful public spaces.    

STOP PRESS! The Municipality has just started work on the new paved path from Leisure Gardens to Steenbok, the remaining phase of the clean-up, cut-back and refurbishment of the bus stop area that LIRA initiated late last year.

LIRA membership at record high

Thanks to the determined yet patient efforts of our membership team, Ingrid and Arjen Meter, LIRA now boasts 75% membership, the highest ever!

It's still concerning that 25% of homeowners do not contribute - for varied reasons, valid or not. Team Meter will not let anyone pass their scrutiny and are not only busy recruiting new members due to the numerous property sales, but are also targeting those non-payers on the Island because, as they rent out their homes, they don't believe it necessary to contribute. We are urging them to pay the LIRA levy, either directly or indirectly via their tenants. 

There's no question that Leisure Isle is a very attractive place to live, largely because of its security and natural beauty. It’s only fair that all owners pull equally with others in keeping it like this, through contributing to the R1,3 million pa that LIRA pays Allsound for safety on the Island; for that immense privilege of living without electrified fences and sleeping peacefully at night that all us lucky residents enjoy.

Kudos to Team Meter!

Help wanted for Leisure Gardens, Monday June 11

LIRA has had an alert from Leisure Gardens regarding the planned strike action on Monday when public transport is likely to be grounded.

Manager, Sandy, is most concerned that she'll have a greatly reduced staff contingent and has requested anyone with caring skills to help out, especially at the three meal times: 8am, 12.30pm lunch and 5.30pm dinner.
If you can help, please contact Sheilagh, Sr Corrie and Sr Munro on 044-3840630.
WHAT LIRA DOES: * Provides 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
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.

Correspondence: Brenda Neall, website & newsletter
To contact our LIRA chairman, Keith Hollis: 
LIRA website:
Sent to you by Leisure Isle Residents' Association

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list