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LIRA Newsletter

March 2016
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 March newsletter ....

LIRA's fun-raising team at it again!

Thanks to the efforts of committee member Jenny Shields, a team of inspired and creative Islanders is getting together to organise several 'fun-raising' LIRA events in the months ahead.
The 'fund-raising' aspect will go towards LIRA's island beautification projects, while the 'fun-raising' part will do much for community spirit. First up is a Progressive Dinner....

Now here's a fine opportunity to get to know your fellow Islanders better! If you've not heard of a progressive dinner, here's the definition:
"A progressive dinner (US) or safari supper (UK) is a dinner party with successive courses prepared and eaten at the residences of different hosts. This usually involves the consumption of one course at each location."
Every participant will get to host a table of eight people (four couples) including themselves to one course of a three-course meal. This means that everyone will travel to a different house with different people for their starters, main and pudding. You will never be with the same couples for any more than one course. By the end of the evening you have had a chance to enjoy the company of 16 different couples.

Each host couple will know long in advance what course they will be preparing. The courses must be prepared before guests arrive as time is restricted ie one hour per course including travel time.

Along with the food, hosts must please supply a white and red wine at the table. If you drink anything else please travel with your own drinks.

The evening will start with a meeting at the Leisure Isle Cubhouse for a cocktail, where teams will be given their eating venue instructions.

The evening will end back at the clubhouse where everyone then gets together for a chinwag.

Do get in touch with organiser-in-chief, Linzi Jansen 082 307-6014,
to join the fun!

Steenbok's AGM and 10th anniversary party - 16 March!

The AGM of the Friends of Steenbok Nature Reserve Trust will be held at 17h30 on Wednesday 16 March 2016 at the Leisure Isle Bowling Club.

The formal business of the AGM will be followed by a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Steenbok Nature Reserve and to pay tribute to all those who have supported the development of the reserve during this period.

Friends of Steenbok, supporters and Islanders are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served and the Club’s bar will be open.
For the latest news update from Steenbok, click here on its impressive website.
Can you imagine life on LI without LIRA? It's not pretty!
A comment recently from a long-standing LIRA member that he was 'at the point of terminating his membership of LIRA' (no reasons given) prompted your editor to reiterate what a bad, unfortunate thing that would be. Okay, no-one likes what are effectively the many extra taxes that middle-class SA citizens are forced to pay to maintain standards of living, but here's what it would be like without your support, without a LIRA:
• An increase in crime to the average for Knysna. No proactive, 24/7, preventative security in place, only reactive and only if you pay for an armed response service. A big hike in your insurance premiums?
• No entrance security - no deterrent effect from guards, cameras, lighting, bike and van patrols.
• The general introduction of high walls, razor wire and electric fences by residents.
• Uncontrolled numbers of buses and vehicles on our narrow lanes.
• Squatting, loitering and camping overnight at Green Hole, Kingfisher Creek and Bollard Beach.
• A surge in opportunistic crime and theft in public places, at homes and from cars.
• The uncontrolled and unmanaged human flooding of our beaches and parks on holidays and weekends with attendant unpleasant and antisocial behaviour.
• No voice, no lobbying of the Knysna Municipality, ward councillors, SAPS, SANParks etc - no say nor sway in the island's upkeep or future, the spending of your rates, or their derivation.
• Falling property prices - evaporation of premium real estate value.
• Empty B&B’s and rental houses as visitors shun Leisure Isle.
• A flood of houses for sale with little buyer interest.
• Roads in disrepair, parks neglected and all public infrastructure open to abuse, damage and non-repair.
• The collapse of the Steenbok Nature Reserve initiative and the destruction of LI's botanical and marine assets.
• Literal collapse of the sea walls with no advocates to lobby for and implement remedial action.
So, is the mere R333 you spend on your LIRA levy per month poor value
or fantastic value?
LIRA is not some nebulous entity - it is a committee of 8/9 concerned, motivated, dedicated people who are prepared to give their time, expertise and energies, free, for the betterment of the island, its homeowners and visitors.
LIRA empitomises the power of community collaboration!
Update on sea lettuce
NO-ONE can have escaped notice of the growing menace of sea lettuce the past two summers. The Knysna Basin Project (KBP) is still investigating possible reasons behind its flourishing presence and possible management interventions.  
   Meanwhile, Owen Govender, Senior Section Ranger at SANParks, recently sent LIRA this notification/advice:
"The Ulva species of algae is considered to be nuisance algae and is not unique to the Knysna estuary but occurs in most other estuaries along our coastline. It affects almost all estuaries along the Garden Route.
   "It should be noted that the removal of the sea lettuce along the shores will only have a cosmetic purpose and won’t result necessarily in a reduction of sea lettuce in the estuary. These algae grow and multiply at a very high rate during ideal conditions.
   "We did experience that spring tides remove most of the sea lettuce along the shores and that any attempts to remove sea lettuce by hand should be made after spring tides to minimise effort in cleaning the shores, while the spring tide will, in any case, remove most of it.
   "SANParks will support efforts of removing the sea lettuce by hand under condition that it is done in a way as to not cause any harm or detriment to the environment and ecosystem in general.
   "Please inform my office so as to ensure a SANParks representative is present when removal of sea lettuce takes place."
Notes from the expert
LI's own marine biology expert, Prof Brian Allanson of the KBP, relayed this update to LIRA this week:
"I am very pleased that SANParks has recognised the help which members of the public could give to reducing the visual impact of sea lettuce on the intertidal shore of the estuary.
   "Fortunately the abundance of greentide in the estuary is as nothing compared to its abundance in estuaries along the east coast of the USA, Northern Europe and West Australia. Nevertheless collecting up the sea lettuce may help to reduce the biological oxygen demand in the waters of the lower estuary - although as SANParks point out this is largely a 'cosmetic purpose'.
   "While the occurrence of a greentide is not unique to Knysna, other large algal species (macroalgae) create similar blooms in estuaries which are temporarily open and closed systems (TOCE), eg Goukamma, Great Brak. The point here is that greentide blooms have not been observed in permanently open estuaries along the Cape south coast. We understand why and how greentide blooms occur in TOCEs– either a dam above the ebb and flow point of the estuary coupled with mouth closure prevents 'flow thru' and the estuary then becomes a lagoon into which nutrients from the immediate catchment collect. The consequence is significant algal growth often resulting in a greentide.
   "Our concern as estuarine ecologists is what was the trigger(s) which caused the bloom of Ulva species in Knysna? As far as I am aware, growth of Ulva and similar weeds have not reached bloom proportions previously in the estuary over a span of 25–30 years.
   "We suggested a hypothesis earlier last year [ie eutrophication, or the excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen] which has formed the basis of new study programmes by our KBP and the Department of Botany at NMMU in PE.
   "Earlier work by Dr Todd Switzer in 2001-2003 has given us an excellent foundation on which to build an explanation and possible management proposals in the near future."
KBP has an excellent website where you can read all about its work, and join or support the organisation... Click here
 Knysna-Plett Concert Series - this Monday, 14 March!
Bryan Wallick - Piano
Hanli Stapela - Soprano
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Dutch Reformed Church Hall
Bookings: Dee Reddan,, 083 2805 980
Early Italian Arias, Songs of Love and Chants Populaires, from Richard Strauss, Jean Sibelius and Maurice Ravel and other composers, will enchant and entertain for this late summer concert.

Bryan Wallick is well known n Knysna and will be bringing his wonderful talent as a pianist on more than one occasion during this year. He made his recital debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York in 1998 and at London’s Wigmore hall in 2003.

Hanli Stapela has performed in such operas as La Traviata, Faust and Madame Butterfly to name just three, but she also sings Lieder, Oratorio and other orchestral works. She is currently Head of Singing at the University of Pretoria.
 Quiz night - 22 March. Tables still available!
Leisure Isle Bowling Club is hosting a quiz evening on March 22nd, and there are still tables open. Join in the fun and challenge!
Time: 6pm - 9pm
Cost: R70 pp, pay on arrival. Includes light supper. Cash bar available
Teams: Max seven people
Put your name down at the club or email
Please wear your house sign!
New house sign
LIRA believes the new house signs are working well in promoting pride and awareness of the Association, and in collecting some new and lapsed members, BUT they could still work a lot harder for us.
   Essentially, we need more members to put up their signs please!
   They are available FREE at Sotheby's for collection, and if you're not resident we would be happy to put your sign up for you!. Drop us an email, let us know where you'd like it to go, and we'll get down to work!
Rain woes!
LIKE many parts of the country, Knysna and Leisure Isle have experienced the lowest summer rainfall in memory.
   In the past three-month period of December to February, rainfall in Steenbok Park has been recorded at below 40% of the ten-year average.
   This has had a disastrous impact on the flowering of the park's famous Brunsvigia orientalis (Candelabra lilies). This year Steenbok management has only been able to count 100 blooms, which is considerably less than past years.
   Fortunately, over the past ten days we have enjoyed a few welcome rainy patches with some 30mm registered on LI.

KM is urging every resident to use water as sparingly as possible in these dry times!
Save Water * Save Water * Save Water

 Great wildlife sightings!
A pair of Greater Flamingoes have been unusual on-off visitors to the Woodbourne wetland and the salt marsh off Thesen Islands this summer.   
   These near-threatened beautiies are highly nomadic and partially migratory. They eat small fish and aquatic invertebrates.
An extraordinary photo taken of a leopard cub on Pezula Private Estate, thought to have been flushed to new ground after February's big fire in the bush near Hornlee.
   Source unknown but pic was posted on Knysna Golden Girls' Facebook page.

Fire standstill!
TRAFFIC on George Rex Drive, as well as a field of golfers, came to a standstill on a hot and windy February afternoon when two fire-fighting helicopters were put to work dousing a huge blaze in the bush near Hornlee.
   The nearest water source for the choppers was the canal along the sixth hole at Knynsa golf course. Dramatic stuff indeed, and thankfully the fire was put out without damage to any homes.

Social members wanted for LICC!
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: