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News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
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In this newsletter: * Upgrading bus shelter area * Holiday season security * Reportback from last LIRA Committee Meeting: gum trees, sea walls, retirement of key members * NO to fireworks * NO to drones * YES to chameleons * Carols Evening * Leisure Isle Festival report * High-speed connectivity options * Level 3 water restrictions * Updates from Knysna Basin Project and Steenbok Park. * The new Knysna Municipality App * Return of the Choo-Tjoe?

LIRA Newsletter
December 2017

Welcome to this update....

REMINDER! LIRA AGM, Wednesday December 20, 18h00 at the Leisure Isle Bowling Club.
 

Bar available * Snacks afterwards * Christmas collection
for our guards

Come and hear about LIRA's past year, and learn more on our future endeavours!

Upgrading of bus shelter area

POST the fire in June, LIRA embarked on a major bush cutting and clearing exercise, mainly along Woodbourne Drive. This initiative has continued to the centre of the island where we recently started a project to tidy up and enhance the old bus shelter, adjacent to the main Steenbok Park entrance.
   The contractor has done a major cutback of the surrounding cypress trees, and removed a dead one, as well as a defunct telephone pole.
   A large and specialised undertaking, it took a full two days to complete and somewhat longer to clear the piles of debris.
   The shelter's tatty tiles have been replaced with corrugated roofing - and LIRA's sincere thanks to Islander, Dick Goulee of Knysna Roofing for his donation of the strips and their installation.
   And what an aesthetic difference this has made already! If we secure some funding from our Ward 9 Counicllor's allowance as is likely, we will move to further upgrade and landscape the area, notably with a paved path from Leisure Gardens through to Steenbok to create easier wheelchair access.
   The redundant Telkom phone booth will also be removed.
   LIRA thanks our newest co-opted committee member, Dave Stromberg, for both designing and managing this project.

Holiday Season Security

EARLIER this year, LIRA again engaged with the Knysna Municipality on security measures on the island for the Christmas holidays.
  • In the meeting with KM, it became clear that the never-implemented 'zero tolerance' on public drinking has been abandoned as unfeasible - in exchange for "a zero tolerance of misbehaviour caused by excessive alcohol consumption".   
  • We have been assured that temporary safety officers will be on duty on peak days, while lifeguards will do duty every day at Green Hole.
  • The southern end of Cearn Drive will become a one-way street over the period.
  • LIRA, too, has tasked Allsound to deploy extra security guards, a vehicle and management on the seven high holidays.
  • Be aware that there will be frequent and random road blocks in and around town during the season.
  • Any incidents must be reported to KM Law Enforcement via the call centre at Fire Brigade – 044 302 8911.
LIRA also reminds residents to remain vigilant and not to take our wonderful security service for granted - opportunistic crime does happen!  Do not leave windows or doors open unattended, and arm alarms at night where feasible and when vacating your house.
  Reportback from last Committee meeting - 5 December 2017  

PRUNING OF GUM TREES: At the informal general meeting (GM) in late November the issue of gum tree maintenance was discussed at length, and it concluded with the idea of demanding of KM that it undertakes the more urgent aspects of this work soonest, otherwise LIRA will implement the project and claim costs back from the KM; that LIRA should not allow the KM to abrogate its responsibilities here.
   The Committee subsequently concurred that we need to rather engage the KM on a diplomatic and co-operative platform, not a threatening one, and that this project should be delayed until the new year, especially in light of the fact that the gums trees do not pose immediate threat or danger, plus the fact that the new Municipal Manager is still finding his feet and that the KM is coping with massively complex problems post the fire.
   We have alerted him twice to the gum tree risks and have yet to hear any response other than an acknowledgement of receipt of our letters.
   We have available funding in our 2018 budget to take on this project and we will find a way forward in the new year.
   As Chairman Keith Hollis noted, "It's important that LIRA gains 'control' of the Island and makes it ours by continuing to action various projects. Of course, we will secure as much funding from KM as we can, but we intend to get on doing things.
   "I think we can be confident that the majority of members support LIRA prudently spending its available funds to improve the island's infrastructure and aesthetics."

SEA WALLS: Everybody is unhappy and concerned about the sorry state of the sea walls, but our hands are tied until the hearing in the High Court, Cape Town, on February 27, 2018, where it will be decided who is responsible for their maintenance and repair, KM or SANParks.
   It was suggested at the GM that we create some publicity around this issue in the local press, but the Committee again concurred that this would be antagonistic and that it would be ultimately better to work with KM, that we are essentially in partnership with it.

RETIREMENT OF COMMITTEE MEMBER: Johan de Bruyn, who has ably handled the security portfolio for many years, is retiring from the Committee as he now has extensive bowling commitments. Thanks to him for managing this challenging work, so key to our amazing lifestyle, for several years.
   We are thrilled to report that Declan Nurse, the MD of Allsound Security, will fill his shoes. We couldn't think of a more apt replacement for this vital portfolio.

NO TO FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS are banned in Knysna, and it is illegal to buy or discharge them. 
  KM Law Enforcement plan to have officers at Bollard Bay who will patrol and enforce by-laws on New Year’s Eve.
  There were some nasty burns and injuries from wayward fireworks last year, and if the laws are flouted, remember you are on the beach at your own risk!

 

NO TO DRONES!

LIRA member, Christine Read, an avid bird conservationist and researcher, asks that drones do not get flown in Steenbok Park or other parts of the island.
   She says, "The use of drones comes with short and long-term consequences to the birdlife of any rich coastal refuge such as Leisure Isle. Birds don’t tolerate the high-pitched whine of the machines, and they certainly pose a flying risk to birds."
   While LIRA does not know if KM has any policy on drones, they are not permitted in many wilderness and reserve areas in southern Africa. You can read more on drone-flying regulations in SA here.
 

YES TO CHAMELEONS!

HOW lucky are you if your garden is home to the Knysna Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion damaranum).
   This increasingly rare species is in the Bradypodion (“slow footed”) genus of chameleons that are endemic to South Africa. It is a forest dweller, found only in a limited range in the afromontane forests near Knysna and in certain other areas.
   As with most chameleons, its tongue is twice the length of its body and it can be shot out of its mouth using a special muscle in the jaw. This gives the chameleon the ability to catch insects some distance away.
  Unfortunately the habitat of this little creature is shrinking and they are extremely vulnerable – from hedge clippers to pet cats, the urban garden holds many dangers for them. Little wonder considering how small they are, and how slowly they move… please watch out for them on roads, too. There are reportedly plenty in Steenbok Park.
   Also, it is a protected species and thus CANNOT be kept as a pet.

Carols @ Leisure!

Thursday December 21
King's Park (opp Sotheby's)
7.00 for 7.30pm

 
Bring family, friends, a picnic and something to sit on. Should it rain (unlikely, according to the forecasts), the Carols will take place the next evening.
Don't miss this special evening!

A fabulous festival!

November's annual Leisure Isle Festival was again a huge success - raising the most funds ever for the several local beneficiaries - R264 523!
    The biggest donations have been to e’Pap Feeding Scheme (R50 056), Hospice (R47 395) and Knysna Animal Welfare (R34,640). 
   Of course, this, too, is a weekend that delights visitors and shoppers, and fosters the efforts of dozens of Knysna's entrepreneurs, traders and craftsmen.
  Congratulations to convenor, Niall Johnston, and his enthusiastic committee, as well as all the volunteers who wo/manned the many fund-raising stands.

Connectivity options!

LIRA gets many queries from members on Internet connectivity options on LI, and the progress of fibre optics. We did relay this info in our Levy letter a few weeks back, but here it is again...
   LaserNet, the company appointed by Knysna Municipality to roll out a fibre optic network throughout town over the next few years, the KnysnaOn Project, has yet to get to Leisure Isle in terms of ground infrastructure, but you can access their network now via microwave link.
   This is a boon for the many people who are looking for speeds and reliability beyond what's currently available via ADSL or 3G.
   Their current offer to residents is R999 pm for 10mbs speed, totally uncapped. There is an installation charge of some R1200, plus internal modems need to be in place. Your house also needs line-of-sight to their tower on the Western Head.
   LaserNet also has a FREE WiFi hotspot in action at the Cearn Hall Library - you can access 250mb there daily, or in the surrounds.
   You can contact their local representative, Beverley Pothier here. Or visit their website: www.lasernet.co.za
   There are other vendors in town, too, that you may also want to consider, who might be more flexible in terms of short-term options:
SAVE WATER * SAVE WATER * SAVE WATER
 
The Western Cape is in water crisis due to the severe drought - and Level 3 Water Restrictions apply in Knysna. Please, especially visitors and non-residents who may not be aware of these, note the following:
  • Municipal potable water for human consumption only.
  • Absolutely NO watering of gardens (not even with a bucket).
  • No washing of vehicles and/or boats.
  • All residents and businesses to restrict their usage to 20 Kl/m.
  • Residents utilising more than the 20 Kl/m will be identified and must install water restrictive devices immediately.
  • Punitive tariff (75% additional) will be added for usage above the 20 Kl/m.
  • Please report water abuse via WhatsApp on 060 998 7000.
REMEMBER TO TURN OFF YOUR WATER MAINS IF YOUR HOUSE IS UNOCCUPIED!
Update on Knysna Basin Project
 
WHO isn't interested in the welfare and status of our precious lagoon?
   You can learn an immense amount about it through The Knysna Basin Project, the NGO focused on continued scientific research in the Knysna Basin, as well as public education.
   It is involved in some fascinating and essential research: read the latest KBP newsletter here

Above: Here's a seahorse that has been tagged by the KBP to monitor their numbers, an ongoing project.
Update on Steenbok Park

FOLLOWING the return to normal rainfall since August, the Reserve is gradually recovering from the ravages of the drought.
   There have been several enhancements to the park this year, and our thanks to Roger Voysey and his great committee for their guardianship of what is surely one of Knysna's best-used, best-loved public spaces.

Read the December Newsletter from Steenbok here.... and please consider becoming a Friend of Steenbok, for all of R400pa.

 
THERE IS NO POOH FAIRY! PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOGS WHEN WALKING IN THE PARK AND ON THE ISLAND!

Download the
Knysna Municipality App!

THE KM has launched an impressive and responsive app, whereby you can access and do the following:
  • It is a user-friendly portal to report any issues, problems, complaints, faults ie roads, water, electricity, parks, law enforcement, accounts, housing, water & sewerage, sold waste, general requests,  - and with it you get a reference number and will get feedback, answers, resolutions to your request.
  • View KM announcements and news releases ie info on the likes of water outages, pipe breaks, electricity, traffic alerts, severe weather alerts etc.
  • You can chat online to a KM agent or send messages.
  • Quick access to all important KM phone numbers.
  • You can contact KM's very responsive Customer Relations Manager.
Download the app free from the Google Play Store app on your smart phone.

The return of the Choo-Tjoe?

WILL it ever happen, so many people want to know? Well, perhaps we can now be hopeful, if not quite holding our collective breath.
   An encouraging venture was announced in 2016 that saw the granting of a track access agreement, in June, from Transnet to Classic Rail. There was a was a flurry of activity both on the line and in the press, and Classic Rail indicated that dining trains would be running by Christmas 2016 on a limited section of track.
   Many were skeptical and they were proved right.
   Now, however, the Friends of the Choo-Tjoe association recently released some more positive news; that Transnet Freight Rail is ready to progress a public-private partnership to get the trains going, part of a drive to grow tourism in the region. And what a wonderful boon it would be to have the trains running again!
   Read all about it in this press release issued by Transnet and published on the Friends of the Choo-Tjoe website.
WHAT LIRA DOES: * 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 * Host sLeisure 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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