NEWS CLIPS - - September 2011

Membership Campaign 2012
LIRA cannot, unlike "gated complexes", impose levies on residents.

We must rely on the support and goodwill of residents who are members of LIRA voluntarily in the knowledge that the Association will do the many things necessary to maintain for all a secure, peaceful and beautiful environment. Thus we must fund our Island Security, Steenbok Nature Reserve and the various other activities through the levies of only those who are members of the Association.

It is perhaps understandable that, for members who pay levies, it much rankles that a minority of residents enjoy the advantages and benefits that LIRA provides without any contribution.

LIRA understands absolutely that, for some, current financial pressures inhibit participation. However we firmly believe that it behoves every Island resident to be a member. For those who are unable to contribute the full levy, LIRA is empowered to accept a lesser, even token payment; “contribution “can also be through participation in our activities.

We have just embarked on a campaign to persuade residents who are not members to please join with us to maintain and improve our Island. Though in the initial stages, we have had an encouraging response. There are some who, for reasons connected with the past, are no longer members. I appeal to those to please reconsider. I am available to discuss with any resident on a strictly confidential basis any issue they may have in order to understand their position. And hopefully achieve "a change of heart".

There is so much we can do to improve the Island but we are frankly "hamstrung" by a lack of finance.

It is essential to note that NOT a single cent of general funds were used to replace the Security Hut and improve the Island entry. ALL funds required were donated by just over 25% of our membership.

I appeal to all those who are not members to please join with your fellow residents and share in maintaining our piece of Paradise.

Keith Hollis

Entrance Refurbishment
The two low curved stone walls, one in front of the Security Hut, and the other across the road, are now complete and T & T Construction have done us proud with excellent stone masonry work. The question frequently asked is what goes inside what is referred to by some as the “Gun Turrets”. The answer is massed Chondropetalum tectorum restios commonly known as Dekriet, softened with low growing indigenous ground covers. Only the restios will be visible above the walls and will merge well with the stone work to provide a pleasing and professional welcome to all crossing the causeway.

The wall in front of the Guard Hut will provide the facility to hang white notice boards with non-commercial messages as has been the custom with “blackboard” messages in the past. The matching wall on the opposite side of the road will feature LEISURE ISLAND signage in white with a bold font. The lettering is currently being manufactured and should go up in a week or so.

Over the past month a considerable clean-up has been undertaken; old benches, ugly rubbish bins and a number of poles with unnecessary signage have been removed, including the ”Haven of Peace” sign that was not popular with many. The latter will be replaced with two signs mounted on the same poles, drawing attention to municipal bye-laws and SANParks regulations. Many folk are ignorant of these bye-laws and regulations and it is considered important that they be hi-lighted to members and visitors alike. These signs are being put in place by the authorities and the Municipality intends erecting more bye-law signs on Leisure Isle.

Work is currently underway with paving to the side of the Guard Hut and the additional upgrade of the lay-bye and parking areas (more clearly and neatly demarcated and covered with stone chip). A month ago it seemed that these would need to be deferred due to lack of funds but fortunately certain members responded to our further appeal with generous donations. The final step to complete the project is upgrade of the gardens. In addition to mass planting of restios this includes introduction of indigenous shrubbery behind the northern stone wall, minor reshaping of certain flower beds and general tidying up and maintenance of the gardens on both sides of the road.

The project is planned for completion before the Leisure Isle festival on 22 & 23 October. Other than replacement benches and litter bins the project is fully funded with donations made specifically for the Guard Hut and entrance up grade. No general funds of LIRA have been used to fund the project which is being totally financed by donations made specifically for the project as was approved by members at a Special Meeting of Members held on 5 April 2011.

LIRA continues to engage the Municipality re the maintenance of Leisure Isle. During the past few months the Municipality has undertaken the following work:
  • painted the pole fences and dustbins,
  • attended to potholes (ongoing problem),
  • located and clearly marked the fire hydrant supply points,
  • fitted a new water mains valve to Leisure Isle.

LIRA makes use of their own gardeners to weed and cut the waterfront verge and adjacent parks, to supplement the service provided by the Municipality. LIRA is currently making use of a private contractor to fill the holes behind the sea wall with sand.

The wonderful rains over the past four months have created a massive weed problem in our parks and both the Municipality and ourselves have found it difficult to keep grass cut and weeds under control. Notwithstanding this Steenbok Nature Reserve is in good shape and the spring flowers are providing beautiful vistas in many areas of the Reserve.

We have been successful in preparing with SANParks a maintenance plan for the Steenbok sea wall that has recently been approved by the Municipality. The next problem is how to motivate the Municipality to provide funding to start a regular maintenance routine into the future.

There is no significant progress on the south sea wall maintenance programme. The amount included in the Municipal current budget for sea walls (July 2011 to June 2012) is R500 000 and this needs to be apportioned between Buffalo Bay, Leisure Isle (north and south) walls and possibly other areas. In recent meetings with Michelle Wasserman (our Ward Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Chairman for the Finance and Government Committee), and Councillor Esme Edge (Capital Works) and the recently appointed Town Engineer (Emanuel Myaloto) and his senior engineer it was agreed that two issues needed to be considered urgently:
  • Urgent maintenance required during the next 9 months to be funded out of the existing budget
  • Formulation of a medium term maintenance plan by a civil engineer with cost estimates that will be presented to the Province for special funding perhaps over a number of years.

We will continue to meet with the Municipality to ensure progress in this critical area.

Some weeks back a number of residents, and others, were fined R500 and in one case R1500, for not stopping at the entrance four-way stop. We bring this to the attention of members for whilst none of us like picking up municipal fines, and this included a member of the LIRA committee, bye-laws must be obeyed and it is the Municipality which applies the bye laws and not LIRA.

Certain residents approached LIRA to make representations to the Municipality to convert this intersection to a combination of Stop and Yield signs, or only Yield. The committee considered this seriously but concluded that a change to Yield (or partly Yield) would encourage speeding through the intersection, and that bringing vehicles to a stop facilitates both camera and visual surveillance.

The LIRA committee accordingly decided that it is in the interests of residents to maintain the current 4 way stop at the entrance to Leisure Isle. To avoid fines please obey the stop sign and remember that this means STOPPING.
Island Personalities
Our third Island Personality is Lexie Elliott, who at the age of 97 is a legend on the Island. She has been living here since 1989 when she and her husband Charles moved to Leisure Gardens. Lexie’s long and interesting life has taken her from her birthplace in England to Ireland, back to England where she trained as a physiotherapist, to North Africa during the war years and a war-time marriage, and then to South Africa where her children were born and raised.

Lexie spent wonderful years in Hogsback and Belvidere before coming to Leisure Isle. She spent many happy hours out in her rowing dinghy, and until recently she explored every inch of the Island on her beloved red bicycle. Lexie has a wonderful appetite for life, and still plays her accordian with gusto. Her warm, positive and humorous approach has ensured her a special niche in our affections.

Lexie’s story can be found by clicking here.

With four months still left in the year we are already fast approaching the average rainfall for a full year. In the past four months rainfall has been more than double the monthly average. Leisure Isle has stood up well to the abnormal rainfall and heavy seas, and dams along the Garden Route are overflowing.

Links Drive Gum Trees
A Surveyor General's aerial plan dated 1937 indicates that approx. 160 Eucalyptus grandis were planted before that date along the northern side of Links Drive. In recent years a number have died and been removed and now only 27 remain. These are not grouped to any plan – in places there are large spaces between, and in others they are concentrated too closely. Under certain of the trees, and around the stumps of trees that have died, groups of indigenous trees are growing. Eucalyptus grandis is now classified in South Africa as a category 2 invader and is thus not considered appropriate to replace trees as they die.

As Eucalyptus grandis die-off, and this is inevitable, it is considered desirable to implement a plan to gradually substitute in their place species indigenous to Leisure Isle. The LIRA committee accordingly commissioned management of Steenbok Nature Reserve to prepare a plan that could be presented to members. The plan is detailed below and needs to be considered in conjunction with detailed drawings that will be on view at the LIRA stand at the Leisure Isle Festival to be held on 22/23 October 2011. After that date the plan and drawings will then be on view at the Leisure Isle Library up to the date of the AGM in December. At the AGM members will be asked to decide whether they wish to adopt the plan or alternatively to reject it and retain the status quo.

The Plan
  • Preserve and encourage groupings of indigenous plant growth that have developed naturally (mini-tree copses) by judicious pruning, feeding and watering. These areas already contain Sideroxylon inerme, Euclea racemosa, Searsia (crenata, lucida, chirindensis), Gymnosparia buxifolia, Diospyros dichrophylla, Buddleja saligna, and Chrysanthemoides monilifera.
  • Plant new mini-tree copses with additional species indigenous to Leisure Isle – municipality has offered to supply Sideroxylon inerme.
  • Where appropriate link mini-tree copses with existing tree copses in Steenbok Park
  • Transform existing Aloe thraskii beds by introducing other indigenous shrub species into larger groups of a more balanced height.
  • Develop new Aloe thraskii beds to achieve overall balance.
  • Thin out and prune Eucalyptus grandis to:
    • achieve more even spread
    • remove dead wood, dangerous, unhealthy and deformed growth.
    • encourage growth of already established mini-tree copses
    • let in sunshine on the southern side of Links Drive
    • ensure public safety is not compromised
    • show off the Eucalyptus grandis, un-crowded and to their spectacular best
    • protect bird nesting places
    • nurture the health of individual trees.
  • Additional tree species that will be considered for planting in tree copses are Apodytes dimidata, Grewia occidentalis, Metalasia muricata, Searsia glauca and Tarchonanthus camphoratus
This plan has been approved in principle by Knysna Municipality and SANParks, subject to adoption by the LIRA Annual General Meeting. In the event that LIRA members decide not to adopt the plan it will be not be implemented. The plan if adopted will be implemented over a period of five years depending on available funding from time to time.

Spotted Eagle Owl Returns to the Nest
After short visits to the owl box in the Eucalypus tree near the tennis courts "mother owl" commenced earlier this month with the long sit-in on eggs while father perches close by ready to protect and feed his family.

This is the third year that this box has been used by the owls and already is attracting considerable interest of islanders and visitors. The normal incubation period is five to six weeks and we can therefore expect the young ones to hatch in a few weeks time.

Contact Us
  • If you have any surplus fill (soil or sand) from building operations, new pool, underground tanks or garden upgrade please contact us as we have projects on which we can put it to good use.
  • If you would like to exhibit or participate in any way in the Leisure Isle Festival to be held on the weekend of 22 & 23 October.
  • A member has copied us on the following email: "As long-term Leisure Isle residents, we write to register our strong objection to your new, large ‘yellow cross’ FOR SALE signs displayed around the Island. We find them ugly, offensive and distasteful." - Your feedback on this or any matter is always appreciated.

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