22 June 2021
We apologise for the fact that this newsletter is long overdue, but the LIBC Committee and Management have been through a torrid time of reorganising our administrative structure and financial administration and this has taken up a huge amount of our time.
Added to that the new digital world which was given a big kickstart by covid has meant that many of us are now involved on a daily basis with attending zoom meetings and being active roleplayers in all sorts of matters that previously would have taken place without us.
If the current spell of good weather is anything to go by, all our out-of-town members and families better start packing your bags and heading down to Knysna. Although we have had some really cold days, the past week has seen fabulous weather with no wind and warm sunny days. A number of boats have been seen setting off from the harbour for fishing on the lagoon and out at sea.
|Once the sun is up the days are glorious! The harbour looks empty now but we hope to see a big influx of people during the school holidays and festival time.
|Thankfully, those of us who are lucky enough to live in Knysna, have been able to take advantage of the glorious weather and get out onto the lagoon or even just for a walk on the beach and enjoy our beautiful surroundings. Your editor spent a marvellous few hours on the water a few days ago enjoying glassy calm water and listening to the gentle waves lapping the edge of the sandbank. It was absolutely gorgeous although I have to admit the fishing did not meet up to expectations with not a bite to be had!Sitting here at my computer powered by my backup inverter system while we undergo yet more load shedding, I am suddenly vividly reminded of my very early days in Knysna and undergoing vacation training as an engineering student at Thesens factory on Thesens Island.
I was given all sorts of very practical and valuable training under the pupillage of some marvellous people like Halvar Mathieson who was the Workshop Manager and Cyril Noble, the Factory Engineering Manager, both of whom made sure I was kept busy and made sure that I kept learning really good practical skills.But it was my time in the Power Station that I am now remembering working under Peter Magson who was in charge there. In many ways, the old Thesens Power Station which supplied electrical power to the whole of the greater Knysna municipal area until the 1970’s, was a microcosm of what Eskom is in South Africa today!
The boilers and turbines were ancient even by those standards and kept breaking down, there were fuel supply problems (mainly wood chippings and some coal), and the electrical system often tripped out. And yet somehow, whenever there was a problem (usually multiple problems!!) everyone climbed in and worked flat out as a team to patch things up and get the system back online.But the real point of this story is tell you how well I remember the engineering management team anxiously watching the dials and gauges measuring the power output and consumption as things were going wrong and getting to the point where a decision had to be made as to which area would be first to be switched off.
And, of course, as you can guess, it was almost invariably Leisure Isle and The Heads that were first to go, ostensibly because it was mainly a holiday destination, but I think there was some secret pleasure as the town people saw the island folk suffering a bit! So all in all I think we can safely say that here in Knysna we are way ahead of times and we invented loadshedding long before Eskom or anyone else came up with the idea!We have to pay tribute to the families like the Mathiesens, Nobles and Magsons, who are part of the Knysna history and who were, and still are, intimately involved with sailing, boating and fishing on the lagoon. Those were indeed happy days! We have been most fortunate in Knysna that for several months the rate of Covid-19 infections has remained very low after the awful surge around December/January.
At that time virtually everyone either lost a loved one or someone dear to them, and we all knew many people who were gravely ill and passed away as a result of this horrible pandemic that has brought the world to its knees.The LIBC Committee offers its sincere condolences to each one of you who have been affected by Covid-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all through this very tragic and difficult time and we will always remember those who are no longer with us.At the time of writing, it is clear that South Africa is seeing a third surge in the number of infections and the vaccination programme is very slow to get underway. We urge you all to take care, follow the precautions of wearing a mask and social distancing and stay safe!
As mentioned above, the financial affairs of LIBC will in future be managed by Ray Turpin and Kathy Michaelides. The work that was started last year by Basil Michaelides is essentially complete and from now on it should be back to the old routine.
The 2020 audited Annual Financial Statements have been signed off and a copy is available in the LIBC Ofiice if anyone wants to look at them. If any member requires an electronic copy, please contact Ray Turpin at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The creditors list has been unravelled and we are almost complete in paying those members with credit balances in our books. The problem arose mainly because of unpaid credits owing in respect of berth rentals, some of which go back many years and include deceased members and persons who resigned from LIBC a long time ago. The only outstanding amounts now are where we do not have bank details, or we have no or incorrect contact details and those are being followed up and will soon be finalised.
The other problem is the debtors list and there are still a number of Members who owe the Club money in respect of unpaid subscriptions and levies. This is of great concern to the Committee and we are working hard to collect all outstanding amounts. Please be aware that in terms of the LIBC Constitution, the membership of any Member who is in default must be terminated and sadly this is the next step we will be forced to take in the case of those Members who ignore the statements we are sending out. At the same time your Committee is acutely aware of the extraordinary times in which we live and if there are any Members who are not able to settle their accounts due to financial circumstances, please contact the Treasurer or Harbour Management and we will do our best to accommodate you. Any such request will be kept in strict confidence.
Last year we started a process of updating many of the LIBC administrative systems but the process was delayed and slowed down by the disruptions due to the Covid-19 crisis. This year we have made a conscious effort to address all the outstanding issues and it is pleasing to report that we have now finally caught up with everything!
A new Jetty Berth Users Agreement has been drawn up because we realised that the old agreement was rather out of date. There are no fundamental differences in the new document but it is better worded and more applicable to the current times. One matter that will be carried over to the next AGM is a proposal from one of our Members to reduce the commission paid to LIBC on the sale of a berth. In terms of the current agreement, 20% of any profit made by a Member on the sale of his/her berth is paid to the Club as a contribution towards harbour maintenance. The proposal will be described in more detail closer to December.
For a number of years, an outstanding balance of unpaid “rates” has appeared on the Club’s municipal services account. We have written to the Municipal Manager in order to obtain clarity on the matter. Some issues with SARS have also been resolved or are being negotiated.
Once again, we are happy to report that no security issues of any nature have been reported to Harbour Management, but as always were remain vigilant and very conscious of the crime rate which is inevitable in view of the shocking unemployment level in the country.
Maintenance is an ongoing task which is very capably looked after by our wonderful Harbour Management team. On the subject of Harbour Management, Margie Johnson has been away for a few weeks for a very well deserved holiday with her husband Geoff. They have been to Madikwe Game Reserve and than on to visit family in Cape Town. Knowing Margie, I am sure she is having a wonderful time but I am equally sure that she is worried about her beloved gardens at LIBC and she will be looking forward to getting back home later this week!
Knysna and Leisure Isle remain an extremely popular destination, not only for holidaymakers but also for families locating from elsewhere in the country. Covid has changed the world we knew forever and many, many people have realised that it is possible to live and work from home. There has been an influx of people to Knysna and the property market is booming. Likewise, LIBC continues to receive a steady stream of new applications for membership, and thus far we have been able to accommodate everyone, but the membership list is fast approaching the maximum of 450.Of course the number of new members also puts pressure on the demand for berths in the harbour and for trailer parking bays, all of which are in very short supply and there is a considerable waiting list for both. If you are looking for a either a berth or a parking bay, we strongly recommend that you put your request in writing so that your name can go onto the waiting list. Even though they are in such short supply, berths do become available from time to time, and in fact about four berths have changed hands in the past couple of months.
LIBC continues to maintain and develop our good relationship with SANParks and to this end the Chairman and Committee Members have attended several meetings this year, both face-to-face and via zoom.
The SANParks Park Forum Meetings are held about three-four times a year and it is extremely interesting to hear about all the work being done, not only by SANParks, but also by many other organisations and individuals which are all aimed at the sustainable use and development of the greater Knysna Estuary. It is really heartwarming and uplifting to listen to some of the reports and stories and to realise that the vast majority of people in Knysna all have the same common vision.A while back we heard a community member from Judah Square Rastafarian Village express concern about the damage pollution is doing to the indigenous plants and herbs that are collected for medicinal purposes in the heavily polluted Bongani Stream catchment area and at the most recent meeting an ex-farmer from upcountry who is now a landowner at Brenton described how he had purchased a large piece of ground with the intention of developing a B&B establishment. When he started exploring his new acquisition, he realised what huge ecological value there was and the property has now been turned into a nature reserve. It is this type of news that gives one great hope for the future of this area, and each and every one of us can play a part.
It was in this spirit that LIBC asked SANParks to arrange a meeting of the “lagoon users”, namely LIBC, KYC, KADA, Knysna Quays, and Thesens Homeowners Association. The meeting was highly successful and once again it was clear that everyone had the same general ideas. SANParks have an extremely limited budget and this has been cut even more as a result of Covid-19, and they really struggle to do the work that is needed. All the organisations present pledged support for SANParks and offered to do whatever we can to assist.For example, LIBC may be able to assist by maintaining the buoys and signage in the Ashmead and Steenbok Channels (which we already do!), and we may be able to extend this by maintaining signage on and around Leisure Isle (possibly in conjunction with LIRA). We discussed the need for and possible methods for better policing of the existing regulations. Hopefully another meeting will soon take place and perhaps this will be the start of a whole new public-private initiative to preserve the future of the Knysna Estuary.
KNYSNA BASIN PROJECT
As you well know LIBC supports the Knysna Basin project as one of our LIBC social responsibility projects.In the current circumstances this is more important than ever and it is the least we can do. Professor Charles Breen, Chairman of the KBP Board of Trustees, and a LIBC Member personally contacted the Chairman to thank LIBC for our annual donation which, he said, is used to keep their boat (used by research workers) operational.
He also sent us a copy of the latest KBP Newsletter so that we can circulate it to our Members,
CLICK HERE to read the KBP NEWSLETTERI
also strongly recommend that you browse through the KBP website which you will find is full of interesting information and will give you an idea of the range and extent of research work being carried out on the lagoon.
WEBSITE AND CONTACT DETAILS
Physical address: Erf No 2060,0 Links Drive, Leisure Isle, Knysna, 6571
Phone 079 378 8252
Note that the phone is manned during LIBC office hours only,
06h00-18h00 every day of the year, except Xmas day
LIBC GATE NUMBER: 065 509 3553
Please store the number on your cellphone and those of your immediate family who may want to enter the Members’ enclosure.
Also make sure that all such numbers are registered with Clive andMargie so that the gate control mechanism recognises your number.
Please do not expect Clive or Margie to open the gate for you!!!!
Note that the old existing landline connection will shortly be discontinued.
Thats is all for now !