Notice from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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LIRA NEWSLETTER:
17 October 2019

Content: Finalisation of fibre optics roll-out * Major Festive Season preparations
* Seawall repairs * LIRA levy for 2020 * New Allsound vehicle branding
* Steenbok Reserve needs you! * Important contacts
DATES TO DIARISE!
  • Steenbok Nature Reserve AGM - Weds 20 Nov, Cearn Hall, 10.00am
  • Leisure Isle Festival - Sat/Sun 9-10 Nov, Kings Park
  • LIRA AGM - Thurs 19 Dec, LI Bowling Club, 5.30 for 6.00pm
  • Carols by Candlelight - Fri 20 Dec, Kings Park, 7.30pm
Leisure Isle now has fibre optics!

The entire Leisure Island is coloured purple on the coverage map on Openserve’s website, indicating that every residence has access to the fibre optic network.

In what we hope will be the last update on fibre optics in a LIRA newsletter, it seems appropriate to reflect on the roll-out that proved to be a wonderfully successful project, one that started out rather fraught with obstacles and resistance, and evolved into a very co-operative endeavour between LIRA, residents, Openserve and their Nokia contractors.

Literally hundreds of site visits, phone calls, emails, sketches and meetings between all parties were required to complete the network. Resistance changed to co-operation and the upshot is that nothing went missing, no lasting damage was reported, and LIRA has not received a single serious complaint from anyone. And no dogs went astray! The care with which the work was done, and the respect shown for our homes and gardens by the contractors was extraordinary.

Nearly 5km of underground cable was laid in trenches on the Island; 40 junction boxes and manholes were constructed; 9,5km of new aerial cable was suspended from poles; only 18 new poles were required – reduced from the planned 51 that were originally scoped; 1 200 precise spliced connections were made; and in the not too distant future all unsightly and ultimately obsolete remaining copper cables will be removed.

Now that the installation of the network is complete, arrangements are being made with the various ISPs to bring fibre into our homes, ensuring that we can enjoy the world-class option of reliable, uninterrupted, high-speed, uncapped internet access at reasonable prices.

Thank you to all for your patience and co-operation. Thank goodness that’s all over!

Click here to read a more detailed account of this project - and, again, LIRA extends our community's appreciation to LIRA's Dave Stromberg for the huge amount of time and energy he devoted to smoothing its path.

 FESTIVE SEASON ARRANGEMENTS

Your LIRA Committee has been hard at work putting plans together for the Festive Season on Leisure Isle.

A Festive Season Preparation meeting was held in early September with senior Knysna Municipal (KM) officials and representatives of LI beachfront homeowners, with an agenda focused on the enforcement of the by-laws, with particular reference to the illegal consumption of alcohol in public places, road safety and traffic issues and anti-social behaviour, as well as on improvements to beachfront facilities.

The meeting was positive, with agreement reached on a collaborative approach whereby LIRA will continue to engage with the various municipal departments to progress the Festive Season planning.

We have ambitious plans to have a number of visible improvements made for this holiday season – some infrastructural, and others concerning beachfront management. To achieve this will require huge efforts from LIRA and the Municipality over the next weeks.

LAW ENFORCEMENT
The By-Law for the Recreational Use of Beach Areas provides a comprehensive legal basis for our interactions with KM regarding the behaviour of beach users, whether visitors or Island residents. LIRA continues to demand that the by-law is enforced, to ensure that all users have a pleasant, safe and law-abiding time on the Island’s wonderful beaches.

Allsound will ramp up its services, both to safeguard residents and their properties, but also to assist the other law-enforcement agencies where required. Regular meetings are being held to improve surveillance, simplify incidence-reporting, and make response times more efficient.

KM's Law Enforcement complement will be enlarged, and better trained staff will be stationed on the Island in December and January. We are urging them to have a more visible presence, especially in peak periods, to use their resources more effectively, and to be more active in their interventions when the by-laws are being contravened.

TRAFFIC
The Traffic Department has agreed to hold more road-blocks on George Rex Drive, as this is seen as a critical factor in not only reducing drink-driving, but also in discouraging excessive alcohol consumption on the Island.

We have requested more frequent patrols by traffic officials, especially at late-afternoon and early evenings, and with greater focus on confronting law-breakers. We have suggested that a patrol vehicle be stationed at the guard hut at random times to do checks on cars entering and leaving the Island.

The one-way traffic system and peak traffic management will be implemented with officials on point duty. LIRA is liaising with residents in areas of the Island impacted by the deviated traffic, and their suggestions for traffic calming measures will be communicated to the Traffic department.

KM has agreed to deploying officials at the Island entrance to prevent cars from entering Woodbourne Drive when congestion reaches high levels, and to redirect them to other areas where overflow parking is available.

BEACHFRONT PARKING
Residents are opposed to the creation of large surfaced parking areas to accommodate peak loads, and prefer the informal arrangements that contribute to the character of our beachfront.

LIRA has done site inspections with traffic officials to look at possible solutions to the seasonal parking problems, and a number of measures have been proposed:

  • Parking for beachgoers will be allowed on the lagoon sides of Woodbourne, Cearn, Bayswater and Thornely, where space is available. We have requested KM to actively discourage peak parking on residential verges, and to prevent the blocking of roads and driveways.
  • Post-and-rail fencing, supplied by the Epilepsy Centre, will be erected in certain areas between Bollard Beach and Thornely Park, to prevent parking on the beach, dunes and picnic areas.
  • LIRA will continue to lobby KM to resurface roads and repair potholes on Leisure Island, especially along parts of Cearn Drive.

SEAWALL REPAIRS
The seawall saga continues, with KM and SANParks still in disagreement as to who owns the seawall, and as to who is responsible for long overdue repairs and maintenance.

KM has yet to respond to our many formal requests to meet in order to agree a way forward on this important matter. The uncertainty surrounding the position of Mark Willemse, our Mayor and Ward 9 Councillor, who has consistently supported our attempts to get the seawall matter resolved, has only made this situation worse.

We have, therefore, made a request to both the Municipality and SANParks to support a proposal from LIRA to undertake three pilot projects to repair collapsed portions of the wall, and to have these completed before the start of the holiday season. The necessary environmental authorisations from the Dept of Environmental Affairs and from the Western Cape Government have already been obtained by LIRA, and the three chosen pilot projects can be relatively quickly and inexpensively undertaken.

The pilot projects are:

  • the rebuilding of the collapsed Bollard Beach timber seawall;
  • the building of a retaining wall to save the endangered Milkwood tree that is about to fall into the lagoon;
  • the repair of the broken portion of wall and resulting sinkhole opposite Horne Drive.

Detailed estimates of costs and work methods are being prepared, with inputs from a number of Island professional engineers.

The benefits of undertaking these pilot projects will include the improved attractiveness of the prime Bollard Beach, the retention of the beautiful Milkwood tree, mitigation of the dangers associated with the collapse of the stone wall, and the prevention of further more costly deterioration of these portions of the seawall.

PARKS AND RECREATION
With the improved mowing and trimming now being done by KM Parks and Recreation Department, the verges, parks and picnic areas will be in good condition for the Season. KM has undertaken to put into place measures to prevent fires from being made in the base of the milkwood trees at Greenhole.

The sensitive dune vegetation at Bollard Beach is being damaged and needs attention. The post-and-rail fencing will prevent parking on the dunes, but the ongoing illegal trimming of bush to open up views, the storage of boats, and the many pathways and informal toilets are all impacting negatively.

Residents are requested to minimise their impact on this delicate eco-system, and to allow the growth of indigenous dune vegetation, as this stabilises the dune, and prevents erosion and wind-blown sand.

GREENHOLE IMPROVEMENTS
LIRA has held site inspections at Greenhole with KM Parks, Traffic and Cleaning department staff to discuss improvements that need to be made for the Season. Proposed short and long term improvement plans have been shared with adjacent homeowners, and their suggestions and concerns have been taken into account.  

KM's longer term plan for an extended parking area at Greenhole, with clearing of the bush on the east side, and an expanded picnic area and improved facilities, will not be put into place for this Festive Season. This work will require the appointment of engineering consultants, consideration of alternative designs and will need to undergo an environmental authorisation process. LIRA has been requested to provide inputs into this, to ensure that the views of Island stakeholders are taken into account.

SEASONAL TEMPORARY TOILETS
KM has awarded its annual contract for temporary toilets for the season ie during the period 1 December to 15 January which KM has designated as the peak season. We have been assured that these will be the same beige flushing toilets that were provided last year, and that they will again be well maintained and serviced.

KM has agreed, once again, to involve affected residents in the positioning of the toilets, and a number of meetings have been held with beachfront homeowners to progress this contentious issue.

CLEANING SERVICES, LITTER AND REFUSE COLLECTION
KM will deploy two full-time cleaners at Greenhole to clean and service the toilet block, empty bins, and generally assist with litter prevention over the season. A covered skip will be positioned to receive bin bags pending twice-daily refuse collection services, which will also cover the entire beachfront area.

KM intends employing beach ambassadors to encourage picnickers to use the bins and promote litter awareness. LIRA will employ additional persons to assist with litter collection in places and at times where there are gaps in the KM service.

The Recycling Depot has been requested to ensure that the recycle bins at Greenhole are emptied more frequently.

ADDITIONAL LITTER BINS
The existing pole-mounted swing bins that are in place throughout the beachfront are inadequate and vulnerable to messy scavenging by Sacred Ibis. KM will provide additional temporary PetroSA drum bins, while LIRA will provide a number of new, permanent, pole-mounted drum bins for positioning in prominent positions along the beachfront. If time permits, a school competition will be held to design anti-littering stickers which will be applied to these bins.

MUNICIPAL SIGNAGE
In a continuation of our recent and very successful road sign replacement project, LIRA has offered to upgrade the municipal law-enforcement signs on the beachfront.

This will entail upgrading existing signs, providing additional signs in areas where these are missing, and removing old and broken signs. The new signs will be carefully positioned to be visible to beachgoers without spoiling views from homes, will be attractive, with KM and LIRA logos, and with beach names and the ‘Keep it clean, keep it green’ anti-litter message. They will have clear pictograms and wording showing the 'Do’s and Don’ts' in terms of the by-laws.

CONCLUSION
At present the Leisure Island beachfront is in a very poor condition: the roads are potholed, the seawall is collapsing, Bollard Beach is eroding, parking is unregulated, signage is faded or missing altogether, the bins are inadequate and often overflowing, and the toilet facilities are poorly maintained.

An early start has been made to this year’s Festive Season preparations. While strong relationships have been built with the Municipality and SANParks, who are the owners and custodians of our beaches and public areas, it is clearly apparent that they are unable to manage, develop and maintain this wonderful asset to a standard that Leisure Island deserves. The ever-increasing number of visitors using the beachfront aggravates the problem.

The measures above are an attempt by LIRA to address the situation on behalf of its members and we trust members appreciate these actions. We look forward to seeing visible improvements being completed in time for the holiday season.

LIRA Levy for 2020

We thank all those members who, through payment of their levy for 2019, enabled LIRA to once again maintain an excellent level of security on the Island. As in the past, we experienced only a few isolated and opportunistic incidents during the year.

Thanks to our ongoing efforts to collect all levies from members and maintain the recruitment levels of new ones as homes change ownership, we have ended our financial year (Nov-Oct) with an encouraging surplus that we can put to good use ie for some of the projects above.

The success of our security operation not only upholds the value of our properties on Leisure Isle, but provides an exceptionally secure and peaceful way of life for all who live here. The LIRA levy cost is small - and the value priceless. And a thought for all to consider: imagine Leisure Isle without LIRA?

Levies for 2020 have been increased as minimally as feasible:

Annual Levy: R4 830 (2019 - R4 600) - 5,0% increase

Monthly Levy: R430 pm (2019 – R410) - 4,9% increase

Invoices will follow in November.

LIRA Membership stats: As of this month, membership was at 339 (78,5%) but may decline by about six by end of October due to some defaulting members. If property transactions (21) and second properties (9) are excluded, membership rises to 84% which indicates huge support.

Pic above: New and emboldened LIRA branding on the Allsound patrol vehicle.
Steenbok Reserve needs you!

The Steenbok AGM will be held at 10h00 on Wednesday 20 November at Cearn Hall. All are welome!
Steenbok will have a stall at this year’s Leisure Island Festival, where the Reserve’s activities will be highlighted, with a focus on ‘Children in the Reserve’. This presents an opportunity to meet the Steenbok team, and to join the Friends of Steenbok.
Support this amazing endeavour! Steenbok Nature Reserve is an integral and precious asset for Leisure Isle and the whole of Knysna - read more about the great work done by its Mancomm and Friends on its WONDERFUL website and Facebook page. And please consider joining the Friends - only R450pa!
KM AppReport 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.

First call, report the potholes on Cearn Drive... we need to keep KM aware of our problems and the need to fix them!
 
Report illegal baiting here!
We have had several recent reports of illicit bait collecting. 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.

Keep in touch and please record/document what sort of response you get from Sanparks to calls you may make, so in the event of little/poor response LIRA is in a position to hold them to account by providing them with exact details of reported times and dates.
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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