NEWS CLIPS - - October 2011

Entrance Upgrade
With the exception of new boards to replace the old easel black boards, the entrance upgrade is now complete. The name Leisure Isle is in place on the northern stone wall and the lay-bys and planting are complete. The best way of replacing the old tradition of family notices on the black boards still needs to be finalised.

A general clean up and pruning of the park areas on both sides of the road has also been completed. The remaining eyesore is the two tracks created by builders whilst busy with construction work on nearby homes. We need to decide on how best to close off these informal roads so that the grass areas can be restored.

An arrangement that will provide LIRA with the ability to better control these two lovely parks has been negotiated with the Knysna Municipality and we are told that details should be approved at a Knysna Council meeting towards the end of this year.

Membership Fees

Member levies have been unchanged for the last two years.

We are conscious of the impact of the economic recession and have endeavored to restrain cost increases of LIRA operations for the coming financial year.

The budget for this financial year ending 31st October 2011 forecast a deficit which we considered could be absorbed by our Accumulated Surplus. The deficit is now anticipated at R54 197 which will reduce our Accumulated Surplus at year end to R45 147. This represents a reserve of less than 5% of our Annual levies.

We trust members appreciate that LIRA has no option than to increase member levies for 2012. We have embarked on a Membership Campaign and feel confident that the relatively small deficit forecast for 2012 will be covered by levies from new members.

A synopsis of the Audited Financial Statements ending 31st October 2011 will be provided with the notice of the Annual General Meeting to be sent to all members towards the end of November. Please diarise the AGM for the 13th December at 18h00 at the Leisure Isle Bowling Club.

It is important to note that the ENTIRE cost of the new Security Hut and refurbishment of the Island Entry was met from funds donated by 35 members. Thus no cost of the upgrade has been charged to LIRA general funds.

Increase in Fees-From 1st November
  • Annual - From R3 000 to R3 200
  • Monthly - From R250 pm to R270 pm
A discount of R100 may be deducted from the Annual Levy if paid before 31st December.

Allsound Rebate on Membership Fees

We are delighted to advise that we have negotiated a rebate on the levies of those members who also are contracted to Allsound for security services.

The rebate in this financial year amounts to R250 per Allsound contracted member of LIRA.

It will be paid by LIRA in two tranches to all those entitled, the first on the 1st December and the second on the 1st June 2012

Membership Campaign

Membership of LIRA is voluntary for residents of the Island; unlike developments and gated complexes where a monthly levy is a contractual obligation towards maintenance and improvement costs.

There are currently 354 members of LIRA. There are 429 dwellings on the Island so that 83 % pay for the total cost of LIRA.

LIRA launched a campaign to recruit new members in the belief that it is only fair that ALL residents should participate in the cost of ensuring we are secure and to “preserve” this beautiful Island we are fortunate to call home.

The response thus far had been most gratifying and on behalf of the committee I extend our thanks to our new members.

We intend to continue the campaign in coming months

On the night of the 12 October there were two separate burglaries in Tidswell Avenue. In both cases there was no forced entry, the persons involved gaining access to the properties by making use of unlocked windows and doors. In one instance entry was obtained through an exterior door using keys that were ‘fished’ through an unlatched window.

After being disturbed one home owner went into the living area when the intruder rushed passed him and disappeared into the night through an open door.

The SAPS were called and their investigations were assisted by Allsound Security and the LIRA Guards.

That night the LIRA Guards had been aware of and were monitoring an individual in the vicinity of the Green Hole near Tidswell Avenue. The identity of this person is not known but has been observed periodically visiting the Island, supposedly to go fishing. The LIRA cameras at the Island entry have provided useful images which are being used by the SAPS in their identification. The cameras have also recorded other details which might be of significance in this case.

One member of SAPS said that he thought that the properties had been previously surveyed and then selected as being suitable targets. Pic of burglar guards Please review your security so as not to become a victim. Do not leave unguarded windows and doors open. If you need to leave windows open fit burglar guards and ensure that keys and valuables are out of reach. We need to continue to discourage criminals from Leisure Isle by maintaining our reputation as not being an easy target.

Please review your security so as not to become a victim. Do not leave unguarded windows and doors open. If you need to leave windows open fit burglar guards and ensure that keys and valuables are out of reach. We need to continue to discourage criminals from Leisure Isle by maintaining our reputation as not being an easy target.
  • SAPS KNYSNA - 044 302 6608 / 044 302 6609
  • LIRA SECURITY GUARDS - 083 330 8533

Another incident that occurred towards the end of September involved the theft of washing and clothes pegs from the wash line of a home in Links Drive. Although featured in “Thumbs Up” in the Knysna Plet Herald it was not reported to Security and we were thus unable to investigate.

Please report all security incidents to the guards even though you may feel it was due to your negligence.

Leisure Isle Festival
We can do no better than to quote from who reported on Saturday evening.
"Today was such a beautiful day that I went to Leisure Isle Festival 2011 twice; in the morning and the afternoon. Morning was jam-packed; cars occupying the verges and stretching more than half way across the bridge. Mood was positive and cheerful, "hellos" and "how are yous" said warmly like small town life in a movie. Stalls boasted lots of creativity and colour. And Hospice outdid themselves because their secondhand book shop had the biggest and best quality books I’d ever seen in Knysna. ePap volunteers were promoting their cause to bring nutrition to kids in need…and one creche was there, decked out in bright yellow and smiles."

The Festival was a wonderful success with record crowds over two most beautiful days. R125000 was raised for our charities Animal Welfare, e'Pap, Hospice, Steenbok and the Elderly.

A great big thank you to exhibitors, sponsors, the public who attended and all involved in the organization of this amazing event.

Some of the spirit of the Festival is captured in the following photographs

The LIRA prize of R1 000 for written comments made at the LIRA stall (sponsored by Sotheby's) was awarded by the drawing of lots, and was won by Bill McLellan of Eastford who ‘always enjoys the walks’

The Latest on Rates
In our recent issue we explained why the LIRA committee had decided not to resort to legal proceedings on the grounds that property valuations were fundamentally flawed. Instead we decided to engage with the authorities to get them to realize that there is a problem with rates valuations of properties on Leisure Island and to offer assistance so that the matter could be addressed. We offered the comment that "Time will tell whether we have been successful".

In on-going discussions since then Municipal councillors and officials have accepted that there have been problems in consistency and have committed to more stringent quality assurance in the upcoming valuation. However whilst we were initially informed that we would be part of the quality control mechanism, representatives of the appointed valuation company were not present at the meeting specifically arranged to present our concerns, and to obtain their feedback. Hence we are doubtful that we will be included in any quality assurance. However we were briefed on a public participation exercise that is focused on engaging with individual owners once initial valuations are available.

At the end of September there was a flurry of Municipal advertisements, and editorials, advising that Knysna Municipality, as a first for South African municipalities, has initiated an intensive public participation program. “We realize there was unhappiness amongst some home owners during the previous valuation process," said Knysna Deputy Mayor and Chairman for the Finance and Government Committee, Councillor Michelle Wasserman. “We now invite the public to participate in the process to ensure greater transparency. We have already had meetings with various home owners associations to explain the process and offer them participation in the process,” said Wasserman.

What is encouraging is a statement by Wasserman in an editorial article where she is quoted as saying "Values are ultimately determined by property sales figures in the area," It is important to remember that Michelle is our elected ward councilor (representing the D A and we will continue to advise her of our concerns and seek her support.

However it is now up to members to make representations in respect of their own properties at the appropriate time. Whilst we will continue to analyse whatever information is available to us, and will inform the Municipality of our findings. it is essential that individual property owners get involved in assuring that their own properties are not over valued.

Through News Clips we will keep members involved of the date, time and place of the rates valuation feedback meetings as they are advertised.

Environmental Issues
In our previous issue we published the draft policy covering the gradual replacement of the Links Drive Eucalyptus trees and advised that copies of the policy document and a formal plan would be on view at the Leisure Isle Festival held last week end. This happened and a copy of the formal plan is set out here under and will be on view, together with the policy document from early November until the date of the LIRA AGM on 13 December. At this meeting members will be asked to decide whether to adopt the plan or to retain the current status quo. Copies of both these documents are available in digital format and can be emailed to readers on request.

We are informed by Knysna Municipality that professional experts have been commissioned to report on programs that need to be implemented in order to restore both the south and Steenbok sea walls to a safe condition and how the budget of R0,5m should be best used in the current financial year to June 2012. This should enable the Municipality to decide on the amount it can afford to budget from its own resources over the next few years and how much should be sought as a special allocation from Provincial Government. In the meantime both SAN Parks and the Municipality have approved a maintenance plan for the Steenbok sea wall and a contractor experienced in this type of upgrade work has quoted the relatively small amount of R70,000 to fix the Steenbok wall.

The Steenbok Nature Resreve plan for the forthcoming year includes the following:
  • Upgrade of the main parking area using material donated by members
  • Eradication of more areas of cotton grass both North and South of the indigenous garden
  • Extend the shrubbery at the east entrance
  • Commence, in conjunction with the Municipality, implementation of the Steenbok seawall maintenance programme
  • If approved by the LIRA Annual General Meeting, manage the commencement of implementation of the Gum tree policy
  • Upgrade our website and introduce more trees and aquatic species.
  • With the guidance of experts develop a formal maintenance plan for the Reserve to ensure continuity of standards into the future
  • Publish a “Steenbok” booklet identifying main species of flora and fauna - special funding will be required.

In our last issue we reported that mother owl was in the owl box sitting on eggs. The chicks have now hatched and will be making their first flight to ground within the next few days. Our prized Satyrium princeps orchids are now in full flower west of the tennis courts and are creating much interest with the botanists.

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