Notice from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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31 May 2020

Dear Fellow Islander,

I’m sure you are celebrating the move to Lockdown 3 tomorrow – extended freedoms will be greatly appreciated by all of us in different ways and for different reasons.

It is important to remember, however, that there are many on the Island who remain at risk and are vulnerable -  I would ask that you remain respectful of their anxiety and concerns regarding the escalating numbers of Covid-19 cases in and around our town. 

I would like to thank Nadine Cooke of Nadine's Corner Coffee Shop who has been an absolute blessing for so many during the past weeks. Likewise, we appreciate Daniella Dotan's ongoing delivery of great meals and treats - what a pleasure not having to cook! We truly appreciate your wonderful willingness to support our community.

As we enter Lockdown level 3, we are pleased to advise that LIRA has reconfirmed the existing contracts with Ivy Garden Services to maintain the entrance to the Island and surrounds. 

While some areas may have looked unkept at times during lockdown (entirely beyond our control!) we will be ensuring these services commence and catch up on the backlog.

Similarly, with the KM departments opening on 1 June, we will request urgent attention be paid to parks, open spaces and general maintenance which has been left unattended. There is plenty of work to be done and we urge you to be patient. We are very aware of much needed action in the coming weeks.

Regards and stay safe,

Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor
LIRA Chairperson
Knysna Municipality's continued troubles

Following the dramatic and unexpected announcement of her impending resignation this past week by Dr Michele Gratz (left), the highly-regarded Acting Municipal Manager (AMM), coupled with the resignations of the CFO and Cllr Peter Myers of Ward 10, many of us have been gravely concerned about the state of affairs in Knysna. 

There are many untrue and defamatory allegations and commentary on social media, none of which are of benefit to the town. It's no secret that the financial affairs of KM are dire – now exacerbated by the weakened economic situation and impact of Covid-19 -  and which leaves Knysna extremely vulnerable. 

It cannot be seen as constructive to have yet another AMM or major changes. So, with this in mind, I had a very positive discussion with Dr Gratz on Friday night which has left me hopeful that we, with input from other relevant forums, too, will be able to convince her to continue her invaluable work.

She has recommended that Province intervene in the affairs of the town and this may be just what is required to make progress. She made some relevant points on the tribulations of her unenviable job: the difficulties of budgetary constraints vs demands for services; the growing socio-economic consequences of the lockdown; managing multiple factions and conflict within the town; and much destructive criticism of all she is trying to achieve.

I stressed to her that we, as LIRA, will support and work co-operatively on all levels with KM to navigate the challenges Knysna faces. She confirmed she has had tremendous support since her shock announcement and values our input.

Positive feedback and recognition are important motivators and we must all make every effort to encourage valuable members of the KM to continue with their efforts, despite the challenges, rather than criticise and point fingers at every opportunity.  

I hope you join me in voicing LIRA's support for Dr Gratz – Knysna needs strong, competent and honest leadership now more than ever!

Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor
LIRA Chairperson
Update on LIRA Committee’s Food Parcel Project

We have had incredible support for this project – what began as an idea to assist the immediate needs of those we knew were in trouble during the lockdown has grown weekly. 

Donations have continued and we are so grateful to all supporters – it’s so heartening to assure you that, with your help, food is actually getting to those who have been marginalised by the formal aid stream. 

We also thank those who have continued to pay their staff and look after those in their employ. 

We have responded to all requests for help from verified persons, contactable via cellphone numbers provided to us – each was met and handed a parcel. 

We have helped over 500 families thus far, and recently began supplying 10 soup kitchens with bulk goods – they feed approximately 200 people per day and are an integral part of their communities. “Masks for Knysna” has been a generous donor of masks that we have handed out with our parcels. 

We also thank Food Lovers Market who has supplied our produce for the soup kitchens, and So-Ca for the food parcels.

Yet more thanks to those who’ve assisted Barb Mills with Lucy Woods’ animal aid project. We've donated some food parcels to go out on these missions, too, so that the families who are struggling are helped; and passed on some financial donations to this team.

The voluntary work being done throughout the region is immense – from the willingness to organise, to get actively involved, to donate, or simply to offer moral support – it has meant a great deal to those of us wrestling with the logistics of providing for an ever-growing need.

The Food Parcel Project has been successful largely due to the willingness of Declan Nurse and Mark Sofianos, who have delivered the packs directly to families and to soup kitchens. Delivery is a key, but often troublesome, aspect of such ventures. At a time when their own businesses have been under stress, both have given freely of their time and energy.

It’s truly been a dream team and, again, I thank them and all our supporters.

Working with the Siya Kolisi Foundation

About two weeks ago, we were approached to partner with the Kolisi Foundation (he’s our Springbok captain, if you need a reminder!) to distribute and manage food aid on its behalf in Knysna.

Siya and his team were passing through and wanted to support the community as an acknowledgement to his great friend and mentor, Jeff Grylls, a longtime Heads resident.   

This turned into a massive exercise - approximately 12 tons of food was delivered by Pick ‘n Pay in a pantechnicon on the evening of Weds 20 May, which had to be off loaded for safe storage in the LI Bowling Club clubhouse. Special mention to George Mackeurtan, chairman of the LIBC, who okayed its use, and Fergie for sacrificing his space for a few days, not to mention the many pockets of potatoes he ferried!

This was followed by a discreet visit to LI by Siya and Rachel Kolisi the next morning to meet us, to chat about the partnership and visit a few selected drop offs (thank you to Declan and Mark who managed the security and logistics off the Island for him and his crew).
His foundation supports the youth, vulnerable and aged – and he chose to support soccer kids’ families on this occasion
via a local soccer club based at Loerie Park, Grassroots Soccer, that develops local and upcoming soccer players. Four coaches were asked to identify the needy and we distributed to 180 homes on Monday morning - just before the weather took a wild turn. The coaches and our delivery guides also benefited.

Knynsa-Plett Herald: You can view a photo gallery of Siya Kolisi's visit to Knysna here..., and see its report on his visit here.

This was a huge undertaking, and we thank our local businesses who gave of their time and vehicles: Carpet Co (Iain Butchart with Andrew Mills), Yamaha Marine (Chris and Mandy Stubbs with Tristan), Allsound (Declan Nurse and teams) and Blue Water Construction (Mark Sofianos with Liam and teams). 

We are so grateful to you all – 12 tons was distributed in but four hours, with Mark proving to be a very skilled logistics planner. Each parcel was substantial: four bags of dry foods and cleaning products; 10kg maize meal; pockets of potatoes, butternut, carrots, beetroot and oranges; face masks; and drawing books and crayons for kids.

The smooth despatch of such large volumes of product required careful planning and many willing hands - big thanks to everyone who made this possible, and to those who flexed their lockdown muscles both to decant the pantechnicon and then to pack the distribution vehicles. Special mention must be made of the Willmore's, the Dittmer's, the Velloza's and my better half, Mike B-C.

Heartfelt thanks!

The Kolisi Foundation has thanked us for our help, their smooth visit to Knysna and the project's efficient execution. While many may be disappointed to have missed a chance to see and meet our Bok captain in the flesh, we were obligated to keep his visit under wraps.

Good morning Mary-Anne,
Hope you all well... I am sending this email on behalf of communities of Joodsekamp, Concordia, Thembeni and Dinangwe and also parents, kids and coaches to thank you so much for what you have done for these families. To LIRA and Siya Foundation, we salute you, you are the best. And last but not least from the Sinako FC family and coaches, we thank you!
Yours in sport,
Justice and the coaches

As people begin returning to work, we truly hope the ability to earn a daily wage will alleviate many township people's dire circumstances. We plan to downscale our initiative and maintain our aid to the soup kitchens as long as finances permit. 

This has been a very successful exercise and would not have happened without the generosity of so many - we are grateful you gave us the means to do this, and the beneficiaries have truly appreciated the helping hand. 

Well done Leisure Island residents and our donors from further afield… so proud to be part of this special community!

Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor
LIRA Chairperson

Should you wish to contribute to our project...

Bank:  FNB    Acc: Food Parcel Donation
Ref:  Your name
Acc No:  62850137566
Branch Code:  250655

Should you wish to contribute to the welfare of the many animals in need, LIRA Comm member, Barb Mills, is coordinating these efforts and can be contacted on 083 325-7449 or

Appointment of Steenbok Reserve Management Committee Chairperson

LIRA and the Friends of Steenbok Trust are pleased to announce the appointment of Kerry Evans (left) as the new Chairperson of the Steenbok Management Committee.

An Island resident and also member of the LIRA Committee, Kerry is a very hard worker and has a keen interest in the well-being of the Reserve. Her degree in Botany and Zoology will also be invaluable.

Keith Hollis has agreed to remain as Chairperson of the Trust, and will be able to provide support and leadership in terms of the founding principles of Steenbok.

Kerry will lead a team comprising representatives of KM, SANParks, LIRA and the Trust, and with current volunteer members filling the portfolios of Finance, Public Relations, Membership, Horticulture, and Projects.

While Steenbok has been closed during lockdown, Kerry and the team are busy putting plans in place for ‘business-as-usual’ once the restrictions are lifted.

We are eagerly looking forward to the day when we can all once again enjoy the tranquil pleasures of the Reserve, and also hold an appropriate farewell function for Roger Voysey.

NOTE: Disappointingly, the Reserve remains closed in Lockdown 3!

Other LIRA news!

Property rates:
We urge all residents who are unhappy with their annual property rates to take the opportunity and view the rates roll currently available for scrutiny. You are able to lodge your objections as property owners within the prescribed time frames indicated.
"I have been approached by some residents who feel rates rebates should be offered – we do not believe this is a LIRA function, rather one that each homeowner should endeavour to resolve with the Municipality," says LIRA chairperson, Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor.

"There are various rates rebate allowances based on medical incapacity, age etc but these do come with conditions which you would need to fulfil.

"There are currently proposals under discussion which could impact on those running B&B establishments without proper permissions and it is worth investigating your liability in this regard should you be concerned you are not meeting the required criteria.”

KM Budget Participation Process: LIRA submitted its response to this process last week. We requested budget allocation on many items which affect all aspects of the Island: infrastructure, general maintenance that is neglected, seawall repairs (both long-term and interim), road maintenance and allocation of budget for Law Enforcement and implementation of by-laws.

We reiterated our commitment to working with all KM departments in a co-operative manner and hoped to engage actively once lockdown is ended and meetings are possible.

We also confirmed our commitment to the Festive Season build up process which has been so successful in the past years.
Prepaid electricity meters - the project continues: Despite initially been advised that this project would be complete early in the year, it is still ongoing.

The contractor, Benny Sparks of B Spark Electrical, advises that he will be returning to LI to finish this work.

If your home is still not converted, please contact him asap to make an appointment to get this done.

Contact details: Benny Sparks. B Spark Electrical, 044 421-7373, 084 421-7373,

Other KM numbers to call for info are: Lulekwa on 044 302-6456/060 998-6885

Some good advice from other residents: Before installation, phone the KM on 044 385-0030 to get your new meter number. With this, you can then purchase your first batch of electricity, either physically at KM offices, other vendors or online via banks. Then, after installation of the meter, you can just punch in the coupon code and your're connected. The whole installation procedure takes but ten minutes or so.
KM AppKnysna Municipal Services

Report potholes, broken water mains etc here!
The Knynsa Municipality App (left) is now the go-to place to report these sorts of infrastructure issues - with top KM officials advising us so. You can download the app from iTunes or Google Playstore.

Report illegal baiting here!
The all-hours SANParks Rangers' Estuary Duty number is
082 269-5007
. Use this to report illegal activities.

The SANParks Knysna general enquiries number is
044 382-2095.
* 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

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.

Brenda Neall, website & newsletter

To contact LIRA chairperson, Mary-Anne Beviss-Challinor: 
Email her here, or call 082 651 3767.

LIRA website:
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