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LIRA Newsletter

September 2013
News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association

Dear ,

Welcome to our third newsletter of 2013....
Michelle WassermanSpecial meeting with Councillor Wasserman

LIRA invites all the residents of Leisure Isle to attend a Special Public Meeting with
Cllr Michelle Wasserman, Speaker and Ward 9 councillor.
   This is your opportunity to question her on issues relating to both Leisure Isle and Knysna.
Date: 25 September 2013
Place: Cearn Hall, Leisure Isle
Time: 17H00
High August drama with the Kiani Satu's grounding
near Buffels Bay

Kiani Satu
THE first week of August brought a massive storm to the southern Cape coast - and on Thursday August 8, worst fears were realised when the 165m Kiani Satu, a rice bulk carrier on its way from Hong Kong to Gabon, ran aground just 50m off the beach at the Goukamma Nature Reserve, after the ship had a mechanical failure. Nineteen crewmen were airlifted to safety.
   Over the first weekend, large waves smashed into the ship, causing part of it to fracture and haemorrhage an estimated 15 tons of oil into the Indian Ocean.
   The authorities responded impressively with a well-coordinated and funded rescue, salvage and clean-up mission that involved about 350 people from some 20 organisations and stakeholders.  
   While it was distressing to see, Islanders were encouraged by the precautions that were quickly put in place on Leisure should the estuary have been affected.
   Pictured here are bags of fabric oil booms that were dotted along the LI perimeter, while a huge floating boom and an oil rapid-response team were stationed off Bollard Bay for several days. Luckily, none was required.
    Reports said the ship eventually spilled 70 tons of oil - but with no apparent impact on our precious estuary.
   The Kiani Satu was eventually refloated, and in heavy seas she continued to take on water. When her fate became apparent, the salvage tug, Smit Amandla, was instructed to tow the ship out to sea, to waters 1 000m deep, where she sank on August 21. 
   The temperature in these waters (between 3°C and 5°C) was cold enough to hopefully 'solidify' the 300 tons of oil she was carrying.
   Well done to all concerned in mitigating what could have been an environmental disaster.
New entrance sign
THE new Leisure Island map was recently erected - and it looks so much better than the old one. It's clearer, neater and cleaner.
   Thanks to ever-willing Sotheby's for sponsoring its cost.
The Knysna Basin Project: an estuarine endeavour

LIRA has used the reverse of the new island entrance map to highlight and support the existence and work of the Knysna Basin Project, an NGO that researches and caretakes Knynsa's topmost asset.
   Did you know that the Knysna Lagoon possesses the highest plant and animal diversity of all South African estuaries?
   Since '90's the Knysna Basin Project (KBP) has been helping maintain the delicate environmental status of the Lagoon. It does this by keeping watch over the impact of urban development around the lagoon and by conducting research on all aspects of the estuary, for example, the lagoon eelgrass, the Knysna seahorse, tidal flows and zones, chemical and biological characteristics of the lagoon, hydrographics and studies of the wide spectrum of flora and fauna found in the lagoon, to name just a few.
   The KBP has access to a small field laboratory located in Knysna which is managed by Prof Brian Allanson, a highly-respected Leisure Isle resident. This lab is a constituent part of the Department of Zoology at Rhodes University.
   Research has been undertaken and is ongoing which is directly relevant to
Leisure Isle residents. The following research projects have been published:
  1. Distribution and biology of the Knysna seahorse (a new project is about to start)
  2. The environmental sensitivity of Leisure Isle
  3. The hydro-geology of Leisure Isle
  4. The influence of tidal, sewage effluent and storm water inflows into the lagoon.
   For more information on these and other research projects go to the KBP website There are also some excellent articles on the Steenpark Park website, click here.
   LIRA actively supports the KBP and we encourage all Leisure Isle residents to embrace and support the KBP in the important work that it does.

We welcome your comments and feedback on this newsletter. And your input, too! Your news, ideas, stories, happenings are welcome.

LIRA wants 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.   

LIRA needs more members!

THERE are over 80 home-owners on the island who are not members of LIRA - a situation which is putting immense strain on our budget.
   Some may think, "Why should I pay, what does LIRA do for me, for the island, really?"
   Our last newsletter outlined the many benefits that LIRA brings to property owners and visitors here - and we urge everyone to do their bit; to even give some sort of contribution if their reluctance to join is financially-driven.
   The reality is that we don't want to imagine how things might go awry without the work, services and influence of LIRA, thanks to its majority fee-paying members and dedicated volunteer committee.
   LIRA only has your/our best interests at heart.   

Leisure Isle Festival -
26-27 October
THE last weekend in October will see the 11th annual Leisure Isle Festival take place, in hopefully rather more benign weather conditions than those that blighted last year's event.
  The entrance park on LI will be alive with activities, about 100 stalls, including much local art and craft, and plenty to eat and drink. Please give the event your support.
   While a great way to build community, the festival proceeds support five charities/NGOs: Hospice, Steenbok Nature Reserve, KAWS (Knysna Animal Welfare), Loerie Old Age Home, ePap school feeding.
   And kudos, again, to Sotheby's for its generous sponsorship of the event.
Blot on the landscape!
NO-ONE regularly travelling along George Rex Drive will have failed to notice the very ugly new road equipment storage yard adjacent the driving range.
   LIRA, jointly with The Heads Association, has raised strong objections to this monstrosity with the Municipality, viewing it as another sully on Knysna's most important tourist road.
   Our Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring, in sympathetic response, has advised that the land is owned, and now used, by the Eden District Municipality and that she has addressed the matter with its officials and manager.
   "Please be assured that we have made a proposal to EDM as to a new site we have identified and we await their response," she says.
   LIRA, too, will be keeping close tabs on this issue.
Spring on Leisure

HAPPY days! Spring is here and is in strking evidence everywhere on LI. 
   For a relative newbie such as your editor, the Indian hawthorns (Rhaphiolepis indica) are particularly gorgeous in magnificent full bloom, and clearly thrive living here, much as do we.
   This is confirmed by some research that states: "Indian hawthorn is drought tolerant, wind resistant and grows well in all types of soil conditions. Saline tolerant, it is often planted on the leeward side of coastal properties."
Indian Hawthorn 
28th International Coastal Clean-Up Day
THIS Saturday, September 21, will see thousands of people around the globe take part in the world’s largest annual volunteer effort for ocean health, the International Coastal Clean-Up (ICC). 
    During last year’s clean-up, they picked up more than 4 536 tons of almost every imaginable type of waste along the world’s shorelines and rivers.
   South Africa is ranked among the top ten participating countries.
   LIRA is not certain if any official efforts are being organised in Knysna, but urges Islanders to take part in their own way - as they do their regular walks around LI, both on Saturday and every day.
Sunday Sept 22 - Spring Equinox

THERE are two equinoxes every year – in September and March – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.
   In the southern hemisphere, the spring (vernal) equinox will fall on Sunday, 22 September 2013.
   On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an 'equinox', derived from Latin, meaning 'equal night'.
Help the Steenbok team

THE Steenbok Nature Reserve Operating Committee is looking for two new members to join them in their quest to preserve the lovely natural area on the northern shore of our Island:

Deputy Reserve Manager – to assist the Reserve Manager, Roger Voysey, with maintenance and improvement programmes, including supervision of the gardeners. A love of nature and good knowledge of gardening is essential.

Special Promotions Project Leader - to help with public awareness/education events or projects; to promote a better understanding of the value and usage of Steenbok Nature Reserve.
   The next intended short programme is a much-needed one to encourage more dog owners to use 'pooh bags'. Other examples of events staged in the past are the 'Natural Knysna' weekend and Arbor Week. This is a fun portfolio that is completely project oriented.

   To find out more about the Steenbok Operating Committee and what is involved in these two roles, contact Roger on (083) 7545390 or Ricky on (082) 3788888 or