Notice from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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LIRA NEWSLETTER:
21 June 2019

UPDATE ON FIBRE OPTIC ROLL-OUT ON LEISURE ISLAND

The roll-out of the fibre optic network on the Island is back on track!

Openserve, and their contractor Nokia, are hard at work installing the cables and conduits, moving from the east side of the Island towards Land’s End, systematically completing neighbourhood clusters, which then allows homeowners in the completed clusters to contact their preferred Internet Service Provider (ISP) in order to get connected.

LIRA’s involvement in this exciting project has become more exacting as work progresses. We are, on the one hand, representing homeowners to ensure that the installation meets their requirements, avoiding unsightly new poles and aerial cables, and minimising disruption to beautiful homes and gardens. And, on the other, we are also helping Nokia gain access to properties to undertake the work, to ensure that its teams are not held up.

As the work progresses from plans on paper to actual implementation on site, problems arising from erroneous surveys and unsuitable underground infrastructure keep cropping up. This necessitates making contact with homeowners, and getting their consent for revised layouts. In many instances homes are unoccupied, and the LIRA database has proved invaluable in making contact with homeowners from as far afield as Scotland, Bangkok and Makhanda!

Very often we have had to assist neighbours in selecting from a range of options of underground versus overhead routings, or in choosing whether to dig trenches through ‘your garden’ or ‘his paving’. We have had fantastic co-operation from Islanders in this regard, with many instances of creative problem-solving and unselfish compromises, enabling the fibre optic network to be installed in the most satisfactory way.

Openserve continues to be very appreciative of the role LIRA is playing and the support received from homeowners. This is a very large capital investment - at no cost to ourselves - and our pre-planning and homeowner communication are preventing costly delays to its Nokia sub-contractors.

As an example to illustrate the many difficulties the contractors face: last week two Nokia teams criss-crossed the Leisure Gardens retirement complex with fibre optic cables -  through ceilings, under the immaculate brick-paved driveway, and across pathways, lovely lawns and gardens, all under the watchful eyes of residents and staff.

The task was not made easier when they hit a major (and unforeseen) concrete sewer that had to be cored and conduited to allow the fibre cables to get past. The care with which the work and remedials is being undertaken, and their patience in dealing with often irate residents, is commendable.

With all this disruption it is easy to overlook the technological marvel that is taking place. Each of our four hundred or so properties is being linked, via a single continuous glass fibre that is thinner than a human hair, through a mass of protective cables and conduits, in an Island-wide network that runs along the causeway, down George Rex Drive, and to the rest of the world.

Work on the roll-out will continue for some time. We are optimistic that by end-August we will all have access to the latest in electronic telecommunication, and although we will remain an Island community, our links to the outside world will be greatly enhanced!

Should you have any problems, please contact Dave Stromberg on davidstromberg1@gmail.com or 073 887-9769

Connecting to the new network
Uncertain what to do once Openserve has completed the roll-out, ie actioning the so-called 'last mile' and getting fibre into your home? Here's some advice:
  • Visit the Openserve website, and select your accredited ISP, Internet Service Provider, from dozens of companies. Do your homework here, checking out their various offers; set-up costs, data rates, speeds and, important for holiday homes, if they offer flexible, short-term, on-off contracts because many don't and want to tie up long-term contracts. Openserve also has a call centre for queries, call office hours on 0800 673 673.
  • The Openserve website has a map that shows the fibre footprint as it becomes available for orders. Purple indicates areas completed with fibre available and pink indicates areas where work is expected to be progressively completed over the next months.
  • Your chosen service provider will arrange your connection via Openserve technicians. This could take up to two weeks.  
  • Your ISP deal should include a fibre router that's plugged into the ONT, and which connects you to the internet. You can add extension devices/boosters to spread wifi access throughout your home - and here you may need the input of an IT consultant.
UPDATE ON SEAWALL REPAIRS

As you are, no doubt, aware from past newsletters, judgement in the seawall court case brought by LIRA to the Western Cape High Court was delivered late in December 2018.

Judge Papier was unable to make a ruling on whether the Municipality (KM) or SANParks owned the seawall, nor on who was responsible for making repairs to or rebuilding the wall. Instead he concluded his judgement by urging all stakeholders to work together and come up with a sustainable solution to this complex problem.

At a meeting with the Mayor in January, LIRA gave notification that it would not be appealing the disappointing judgement, but that it would now like to proceed with the process to get approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to make interim repairs to the seawall. Mayor Willemse gave the support of the KM to this proposal, and confirmed that it had made budgetary provision for the repairs.

LIRA subsequently appointed environmental consultants to prepare the application to DEA. This took the form of a Maintenance Environmental Management Plan (MEMP), a streamlined form of environmental approval to allow repairs to be made to an existing structure.

A site inspection was held with all stakeholders, and a draft document advertised for public comment. Comments were received and addressed, and support and funding received from Steenbok Nature Reserve and the Leisure Island Boat Club. SANParks has also approved the application.

Final approvals!
The final requirement for the DEA – a formal letter of support from the KM – has now been promised by the Municipal Manager and, on receipt, the final documentation will be forwarded to the department. We are cautiously optimistic that the approval process will be a formality and there will be no further lengthy delays!

Once approved, the MEMP will allow relatively quick and inexpensive repairs to be made to all the seawalls for a five-year period, as and when required. It must be noted that these will be interim repairs intended to reduce the risks of collapse of the damaged portions of the wall, and to prevent further more costly deterioration.

LIRA hopes to participate in the planning and execution of this work, in a co-operative joint exercise with the KM and SANParks, to ensure that repairs are speedily made, and that safety issues are addressed.

In the longer term, the older portions of the seawall will still need to be rebuilt. This will require a lengthy environmental Basic Assessment process, with expert studies undertaken, alternative options evaluated, and extensive stakeholder engagement, followed by a major (and expensive) rebuild. Again, as an Island-based community, with a special interest in our protective seawalls, we would hope to be a very active stakeholder in this process.  
WARD 9 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION MEETING

The Municipality (KM) held a public meeting in Cearn Hall on 15 May to present the Budget, IDP and Spatial Development Frameworks for information and comment.

KM put on a good show, with the  Mayor, Municipal Manager, directors of the various departments, municipal officials and Councillors in attendance. Slide presentations were followed by question and answer sessions.

Disappointingly the attendance by Ward 9 residents was very low. LIRA made two submissions to the KM on behalf of our members.

The first, in response to the Budget, requested that KM made sufficient financial provision for adequate Law Enforcement and Traffic Department personnel to enforce the by-laws on the Island. Specific mention was made of the by-laws concerning alcohol abuse in public places, anti-social behaviour, drunk driving and other traffic violations.

The second submission was a request to KM to establish a formal and structured engagement with LIRA, with a view to improving the facilities and management of the Island’s beachfronts. An arrangement of this kind has been in place at Steenbok Nature Reserve for some time, and the results are apparent in this well cared-for public space. By comparison, Green Hole and the waterfront are neglected and poorly maintained.

We look forward to KM’s adoption of these two submissions, thereby making a positive contribution to the well-being of both residents and visitors over the coming Festive Season.
PRE-PAID ELECTRICAL METERS PROJECT ON LI

KM is in the process of converting old electricity meters to pre-paid ones throughout the town.

There have been some hiccups with this project on the Island which began this month. KM has apologised for this, has undertaken to address the problems and has asked LIRA to assist with communicating the project to all Island homeowners.

B-Spark Electrical teams have been contracted by KM to do the work and will be visiting all homes on the Island in the coming weeks to do the conversions where required. Where homeowners are on the property, the technicians will hand over the new keypads and explain the new procedures. Homeowners will then need to go to the Municipal Customer Care Centre in Main Street to make their first pre-paid purchase.

KM assures us that no change-overs will be done without the homeowner being present.

Importantly - for those homeowners who are not resident, please contact Lulekwa at KM: isongqengqe@knysna.gov.za, on 044 302 6456 or 060 998 6885, to arrange for a date and time that suits you, when there will be someone at home.

She understands that some properties are only occupied over holiday periods etc. She will then make appointments for the technicians to visit when there is someone to receive them.

Of course, the many homeowners who already have pre-paid meters can ignore this!
You can still claim an old road sign!

The auction of old street signs has been a great success and to date, added over R21K to LIRA coffers to fund the new road signs project. A brlliant outcome!

There are still 30 old signs available - if you'd like one of them, please put in your best offer to Kerry Evans: kezzevans@gmail.com


 
STEENBOK PARK NEWS!
Steenbok Park is curated by a fantastically dedicated and enthusiastic team of people.

You can check out their latest news - all the developments, upgrades and work being done in this precious and popular island feature - on their excellent website.

www.steenboknaturereserve.org.za
WHAT LIRA DOES FOR YOU!
* 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: 
chairman@leisureisleknysna.co.za 

LIRA website: www.leisureisleknysna.co.za
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