The summer holiday season is long past and everyone has settled into the routine of another year. It is hard to believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are already behind us and one hopes that the 2020’s will bring a new dawn and better things to South Africa and indeed the whole world. Sadly, right now we do not seem to be getting off to a good start.
Luckily for those of us fortunate enough to live in Knysna and especially here on Leisure Isle life carries on at its normal idyllic pace and we are little affected by what happens elsewhere!
So far the weather has been unusual this year, with periods of extreme heat and high humidity followed by some really good rain. I attended a SANParks meeting last week where it was reported that Knysna received between 150 and 200 mm of rain in January which is well above average. The rain has also been relatively gentle and soaking with very little flooding, all of which is really good news for this part of the country. We can only hope and pray that the remaining drought-stricken areas soon get their share of rain because the situation in many parts of the country, and particularly the Eastern Cape, remains dire.
The fisherman have reported a mixed bag so far this year. The changing weather and water temperatures have had an effect on the fish but a large number of grunter were caught in January and some truly massive shoals were observed in the shallows in front of Leisure Isle. I really hope that everyone is practising catch-and-release, and if you have to take a fish home, take only what you can eat. Leave something behind for your grandchildren!!
As far as LIBC is concerned we got through the holiday period without any serious mishaps. There were a few parking issues and the usual chaos in the harbour at times, but generally everyone behaved well and no incidents were reported. One matter that was noteworthy was the congestion in the harbour and the difficulty boats had in navigating their way into and out of the harbour,particularly when the wind was blowing. It was obvious that the harbour simply cannot accommodate large boats and the LIBC boat dimension limits will remain strictly in place.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The LIBC Annual General Meeting took place on 17 December last year. The meeting was quite well attended but it is a pity that more members were not there to hear what is happening at LIBC. A few important matters were raised. It was confirmed that LIBC would make the following donations to local organizations:
NSRI R20 000
Knysna Sports Academy R45 000
Knysna Basin Project R20 000
There was discussion around increasing the amounts and it was agreed that we would adhere to the above figures as proposed by the Committee, but the amounts will be reviewed at the financial year-end. The Chairman pointed out that the Committee arrives at the figures each year after careful consideration of a number of factors and it would be unwise to arbitrarily and hastily change these. In the meantime, LIBC Members are strongly encouraged to make private donations to these very worthy organizations, all of whom influence the wellbeing of the greater Knysna community, including LIBC members, in one way or another. Please contact Clive or Margie if you want to know how to go about this.
- It was agreed to increase the limit on the number of LIBC Members from 400 to 450 with immediate effect. As a result, the current number of members has increased to about 425 as at mid-February.
- LIBC is again able to report that there have been no security related incidents during the past year, which is in no small way due to the staff’s efforts to remain vigilant and also due to the excellent work done by our service provider, Allsound Security. As a result of the secure environment, the AGM decided to postpone a decision to install a smart camera system for now, but the Committee was mandated to monitor the situation and if there is any change we will go ahead and implement the system.
Nominations for members of the LIBC Committee were received prior to the AGM as required by the Constitution and the new Committee will comprise the following:
Craig Clarke (Chairman )
John Metelerkamp (Deputy Chairman )
Deon Steyn has indicated that he would like to step down, but is willing to continue to serve on the Committee while we re-organise ourselves after the passing of the previous Secretary and Treasurer, Cecil Milne.
As reported at the AGM, the Committee has appointed Basil Michaelides to assist us with the Treasurer’s duties as a result of the considerable disruption caused by Cecil’s death. Basil is a past Member of LIBC (he passed his membership and berth on to his son, Peter when he “retired” from active boating), but more importantly he is a Chartered Accountant and retired Senior Partner of the well-known accounting practice, MPK Accounting, who are also LIBC’s Auditors. Basil is the perfect person to help us through this difficult time and we are using the opportunity to completely overhaul and update the LIBC accounting systems. Basil’s appointment will continue until the end of the current financial year in September, at which time we will decide on the way forward.
We are using this opportunity to reorganise and restructure the whole LIBC management system. In addition to carrying out all the accounting duties, for many years Cecil Milne also had the responsibility of being the Club Secretary. Those duties are now being taken over mainly by the Harbour Manager, Clive Davis, together with Margie Johnson. We are making the changes one step at a time to make sure that everything continues to function correctly and so far everything is running very smoothly.
Clive and Margie work long and difficult hours and currently they do not have sufficient weekend time to themselves. For this reason the Committee has decided to appoint Ray Turpin to be on duty two Saturdays or Sundays every month, and by so doing to enable both Clive and Margie to have one full weekend off duty every month. Many Members already know Ray because he has been helping out on odd occasions over the past several months when either Clive or Margie have been on leave. We welcome Ray to the LIBC team and look forward to having him on board!
It is intended that we will generally have the restructuring process complete by the end of March, and it will be achieved at very little extra cost to LIBC.
It has been very difficult to fill the gap which Cecil Milne left behind but we are pleased to report that we are nearly there. Basil Michaelides has brought the books up to date and he is now are able to go back and check all the invoices sent out by Cecil at the end of September and reconcile them with our database. As a result of this delay, we are aware that a few Members have still not received their subscription notices for 2019/20 and there is still outstanding information related to berth hire fees.
We apologise sincerely for the inconvenience but we assure you the process is almost complete and Basil is doing a fine job of setting up new accounting methods that will ensure that we continue to manage the club finances efficiently, accurately and effectively. It is most gratifying to report that although Cecil may have had his own way of doing things, he left the LIBC finances in a very healthy state and everything has always been accurately and correctly recorded.
If there is one silver lining to this whole sad business, it is that it has afforded us the opportunity to completely overhaul and update the entire manner in which LIBC is structured and managed and we believe that at the end of the day the club will function more efficiently than ever.
After a few weeks’ break over the holiday season the jetty repair project has resumed. Currently the team is proceeding with work on E Jetty, which should be complete within 2-3 weeks. Thereafter there is some minor tidying up on B, C, and D Jetties and at that point we will take stock of the remainder of the jetties before a decision is made to proceed with any further work. The only outstanding work will then be some minor work on A Jetty, and to the ends of the other jetties. It may make sense to first have a break and to start again either later this year or early next year.
USE OF HARBOUR BY NON-MEMBERS
Harbour Management has received a few queries about the use of LIBC facilities by Non-Members and it is worth setting the record straight. The following are extracts from the LIBC Constitution:
- Ordinary membership shall be open to persons who have attained the age of 18 years and desire the full privileges of ordinary membership. Ordinary membership entitles the spouse, children, and grandchildren of Members full use of LIBC facilities but does not confer upon them voting rights.
- Temporary membership may be granted for a period of not more than six months to persons who have arranged to hire a berth or who have been granted the use of a berth by a Member. Such temporary Members shall be entitled to the benefits of full membership, but not voting rights, the right of election to the Committee, nor the right to propose or second prospective Members.
- Guests accompanied by Members are welcome.
- Every Member introducing a guest shall be responsible for the conduct of such guest while on the club premises.
- No guest unaccompanied by a Member is allowed access to the Members’ enclosure.
It should be clear from the above that if you allow anyone other than your spouse, children, or grandchildren to use your boat and/or mooring, or to use or hire your mooring or trailer parking bay, then such person(s) must either be a LIBC Member, or they must take out temporary LIBC membership. You are obviously welcome to bring non-member guests to the club and take them out on your boat, provided that you accompany them, but otherwise the above rules must always apply.
If you have any doubts about the above, please ask Harbour Management and they will gladly help you.
2020 CITY NATURE CHALLENGE
Now here is a fun project that anyone and everyone can take part in! If you want some background, go to http://citynaturechallenge.org/ .
Essentially, this challenge is a bioblitz (an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all living species within a designated area) where all observations are uploaded onto iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/). This is an annual event which takes place internationally, and all at the same time. What is exciting is that last year, out of the whole world, the event was won by Cape Town, and this year the Garden Route District Municipality has decided to take up the challenge and to take part. The Knysna Basin project under Dr Louw Claasens is acting as host and coordinator for Knysna, Plett and Sedgefield and they are going all out to try to win. LIBC is joining forces with LIRA and Steenbok Nature Reserve and we are hoping that many LIBC Members will take part.
The event takes place from 24-27 April, 2020.
To get things going, an initial training session is going to take place on Tuesday 25 February at 11h00 at Nadine’s Coffee Shop on Leisure Isle. Margie Johnson and Andrew Aveley will be attending and thereafter they will be able to give us all a better idea of what it is all about. If you are interested, please contact Margie at LIBC (044 384 0825) or Andrew at email@example.com and let’s see what we can do.
We must show that the Garden Route is the ultimate destination for biodiversity and if you love plants, animals or any other critters, then this challenge is for you!
Anyone can take part and anything goes, be it in your house, garden, around Knysna, or on the lagoon. A photo of an ant, a whale, or even a plant or tree all count. Margie has already promised a photo of a baboon in Rexford, and one wonders if someone will be able to get a picture of the last Knysna elephant!
LIAISON WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
LIBC is continuing to maintain and build on our relationship with other organizations with common interests and to this end there have been several completely informal discussions with both Steenbok Nature Reserve and LIRA and it is clear that there are several areas where we need to work more closely to ensure the sustainable future of LIBC. Hopefully there will be more to report over the next several months.
The LIBC Chairman represented LIBC at a recent SANParks Park Forum meeting. These meetings are attended by a number of stakeholder organizations and individuals all of which have a common interest in the wellbeing of the greater Knysna Estuary. Some of the more significant reports covered the following:
- The estuary water quality is always a “hot” topic and this was debated at some length. Generally the estuary water quality is currently not too bad but a number of the stormwater inlets remain a concern. This is an ongoing matter and the encouraging aspect is that it is being closely monitored by various people so non-conformances cannot be swept under the table.
- SANParks has completed its Management Plan which has been approved by the Minister and should soon come into effect. Overall the Plan will not have a significant effect on boating although there will be some new restrictions on boating activities which will no doubt cause some unhappiness, but it must be remembered that these are all aimed at the future sustainability of the Knysna Estuary so we must all accept that there has to be some small inconvenience.
- Several scientific research projects are underway in and around the Knysna Estuary and these all confirm the importance of the Estuary biodiversity. It is most encouraging to see this serious work being undertaken and it does much to ensure that the authorities are aware of what is happening and are kept on their toes. It is also encouraging to hear that despite all the human pressure, the estuary remains in a relatively healthy state. We must all play our part in ensuring that it remains that way.
As a general comment, it is both amazing and heartwarming to hear about all the work that is being by various bodies and people, working quietly behind the scene to promote tourism, educate the public and especially children, and making really huge efforts to clear litter and alien growth. We don’t always notice what is going on, but, believe me, without the efforts of all these people, our beautiful town and lagoon would be a great deal worse than it already is.