Your editor hangs his head in shame! Summer is all but over, the days are much shorter, we are already nearly quarter way through the year and this is the first LIBC newsletter for the year. There are no excuses but what happened is that we started writing the newsletter in January but then needed to dig through the old club files for information about the time when the harbour was being developed. This was for the long-promised article about LIBC’s history. We were then distracted and became engrossed in many other activities and it is only now that we have been able to get back to the pleasant task of producing this long overdue newsletter.
There is a lot to catch up on and much to write about including news about the holiday season, an update on maintenance and repairs at LIBC, some staff and committee news and some important information about berths and berth sales.
LIBC AND HARBOUR NEWS
The now long past holiday season was very successful at LIBC and we hope that all our Members and visitors enjoyed themselves as much as we did. The club was as busy as usual and every single available berth and trailer parking bay was booked over the peak period. Perhaps we were not quite as busy as expected and the activity at the harbour was probably not as frantic as it has sometimes been in previous years, but this can mainly be attributed to some disappointing weather during the first half of the holidays. Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and courteous behaviour in using the LIBC facilities, we definitely had far less problems than in the previous couple of years and everyone seemed very relaxed and out to enjoy themselves.
A special word of thanks goes to Ray and Margie for the huge amount of planning and preparing for the season with the result that the harbour operated smoothly at all times, and to both of them and Michael and Joseph for all the hard work before, during and after the holiday period, every single LIBC Member and all our visitors really appreciated your efforts!
Michael and Joseph in their new LIBC branded work gear ready for the 2023 December holiday season
The AGM was held on 20 December 2022 and it too was very successful although the attendance was a bit disappointing. The AGM gives Members the opportunity to hear first-hand about what is going on at the club and to give us suggestions as to how the committee can make improvements. Nevertheless it was good to see some familiar faces as well as a number of new Members present and some good suggestions were made which have all gone onto our Action plan for the year and will be addressed. We will give feedback later in the year.
LIBC CANOES FOR MEMBERS’ USE
Many Members are probably unaware that LIBC owns two canoes which were kindly donated to LIBC a few years ago and which we store on the club canoe rack. The canoes are available for any Member to use free of charge, so if you are interested please enquire at the Harbour Office. Obviously use of the canoes is entirely at your own risk and you must supply your own life jackets but we would be pleased to see them being utilised because they are only very rarely taken out and are getting in the way. The club will have to dispose of the two canoes if they are not used by Members.
LIBC COMMITTEE AND STAFF NEWS
As you all know Clive Garth-Davis retired from his position as Harbour Manager late last year and we arranged a small function to formally say goodbye to him at the LIBC Committee meeting in January. The Chairman thanked Clive for his loyal service to the club over the past eight years and we handed him a gift from the Committee and LIBC Members. Clive had not expected anything like this and expressed his huge thanks to both the Committee and all LIBC Members. We have since heard that Clive is thoroughly enjoying his new life as a relaxed and retired person. His sister has moved to Knysna from Johannesburg and now lives with Clive and apparently the two of them have been out exploring all the beautiful places we are so blessed to have around Knysna. We are also glad to report that the foot he injured in the motorcycle accident last year continues to heal well.
The Chairman, Craig Clarke, hands a gift to Clive Garth-Davis from the LIBC Committee and Members to mark the occasion of Clive’s retirement from LIBC
The LIBC Treasurer, Ray Turpin, has continued as acting Harbour Master until we find a permanent replacement for Clive. Ray has slotted nicely into the position and is making a big contribution to ensuring that everything remains spick and span at LIBC and he has made it clear that he is more than happy to remain in the position “for as long as it takes” and that there is no rush to fill the position. The Committee has welcomed this arrangement because we are still busy defining the exact roles of the staff members and we want to be absolutely certain we know exactly what we want before rushing into anything.
In the meantime, the LIBC Committee members from last year all agreed to make themselves available for the coming year so the same great team will continue to serve LIBC. In addition we are very pleased to announce that Wayne Smart has joined the committee. Wayne retired a few years ago from the large building construction company he founded in the Eastern Cape and he has been a full time resident on Leisure Isle for several years. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to LIBC which will be invaluable in assisting to ensure that our club facilities are maintained and improved to the high standards to which we have become accustomed.
The LIBC harbour management team have settled back into their well established routine of administration, maintenance, gardening and all the other hundreds of tasks that they have to attend to on a daily basis. Recently Ray took a well-deserved two week break to head off on holiday to KwaZulu Natal and while he has been away we have been very fortunate to have one of our Members, Mike Pienaar, who is well known to most of you, stand in for Ray. Mike slotted into the position like a glove and he and Margie have kept everything going without any hitches. I am sure we will be seeing lots more of Mike in the future!
Maintenance of the harbour facilities is always a number one priority and the work continues unabated all year round.
It is now nearly four years since we started the major overhaul and upgrading of the jetties and so inevitably there are some signs of wear and tear that must be attended to as well as further work on the jetties that were not renovated at the time. Colin Dittmer and Wayne Smart have taken on this task and you will no doubt see work being carried out over the next few monthes. The main items needing attention are rusted and loose brackets which hold the jetties structures together and replacement of damaged planking. We are also keeping an eye on the jetty poles for signs of marine gribble attack and these will be replaced as and when necessary.
Ray has been busy attending to the upkeep of the perimeter fence and you will notice a smart and sturdy new timber gate in the western fence to allow access to the outer harbour wall for cleaning and other maintenance. Construction and installation of the gate was undertaken wholly by Michael and he can be very proud of his handiwork! Another visible sign of Michael and Joseph’s work is the new razor-wire along the eastern fence, and some redundant old fencing has been removed within the trailer park area which has created some much-needed additional space between parked boats and trailers.
Knysna experienced unseasonably dry weather in November and the first half of December with the result that when our visitors arrived all the grassed areas suffered badly from the vehicular traffic. This was followed by unusually high rain in January and we ended up with a lot of very muddy or dusty patches all over the place. These have now been covered with a thick layer of wood chips/shaving mulch which will hopefully give the ground and grass time to recover slowly and should, in the meantime, prevent further erosion. This was a method used with great success when the harbour was originally extended in 2004 and we are hoping for the same results this time round.
LIBC looks after and maintains the buoys in the Steenbok and western half of the Ashmead channels (without assuming any formal responsibility for them!) and that means regular inspections, repairs, and, if necessary, replacement of the buoys. Just before the holiday season we became aware that one of the buoys was floating very low in the water and needed attention. There was no time to attend to the problem before the season and it was only very recently that Ray Turpin’s son, Rob, who spends most of his time out the country, was able to do the work. A brand new buoy and mooring was installed (it is buoy No 6 at the western end of the Ashmead Channel), but the job was not completed without a huge effort because the old buoy was virtually full of water and almost impossible to tow behind a boat. In the end the team of Rob, Michael and Joseph (with Ray and his wife Ronel also on the boat and probably more in the way than doing any good!) managed to drag the buoy to the nearby sandbank and empty most of the water out before loading the old one on Ray’s kayak and towing it to the harbour.
Rob Turpin at the helm of his boat with the damaged Buoy No 6 loaded on Ray’s kayak being towed back to the harbour.
The buoy was badly damaged and showed very clear signs of having been struck at high speed by a boat and it is absolutely amazing that it remained (barely) afloat for almost two monthes thereafter. Shame on whoever caused the accident for not reporting it and we only hope that an LIBC Member was not involved.
Late news just in is that after the new buoy was in place for barely two weeks, it once again disappeared! The reason is unknown except that the mooring tackle appears to have broken but fortunately Ray and his son Rob managed to recover the mooring line and block and a temporary buoy has been installed while we make up a new buoy and light.
Loadshedding is now part of our daily lives and looks set to continue for several years. Thankfully the Committee had the foresight to install a reliable battery/inverter set during 2022 and this is serving us very well with sufficient capacity to provide backup power for most of the security lighting around the harbour premises. During the process of installing the backup power system and modifying the existing electrical installation to split it into essential and non-essential circuits, it became apparent that much of the old electrical infrastructure at LIBC was in a poor state of repair having been extended and altered many times over the years. We are now working our way through the system to rationalise and improve the installation and at the same time to improve the quality and ambience of the security lighting to a standard appropriate for LIBC. This is an ongoing process which we are tackling slowly and one step at a time so as to avoid incurring unnecessary and wasteful expenditure. An example of the problems we have faced occurred during the holiday season when we experienced an intermittent recurring fault during wet weather which caused several circuits to trip. Of course it had to happen during the season when our trusty electrical contractor, Neville Ristow, was away in Cape Town for several weeks! On his return Neville eventually traced the fault to a hole through an old underground cable which shorted out whenever it rained and this resulted in all the new area lights along the east wall of the harbour and the sliding gate to be out of action for an extended period. The single 5 kW lithium-iron battery only just keeps us going through a four hour period without mains power and an additional battery was ordered several months ago and we now understand that it will be delivered at the end of March.
Towards the end of last year the Committee took a decision not to proceed with the installation of solar panels to charge the batteries, but given the current circumstances and situation this is something that we will definitely have to review in the very near future.
Once again we are very happy to report that no security related incidents have
arisen at LIBC for some considerable time. We like to think that this can be attributed to the various measures we have in place to combat crime, namely good security lighting, a guard on duty every night and generally good vigilance and housekeeping by the LIBC staff, but it is also no doubt due to the fact the whole of Leisure Isle is largely a crime free area. At the same time we cannot be complacent and there are worrying signs that incidents of petty theft are on the increase on the island and it is up to every one of us to do what we can to prevent criminal activity. In particular, please avoid leaving anything of value on your boat and/or trailer unless it is locked away and remember that loose metal items have a lot of scrap value so remove these from empty trailers.
Your LIBC Committee will remain vigilant and we will upgrade the security arrangements if we feel it is necessary but there is a limit to what we can practically do and in the meantime all of us must help to ensure that the premises do not become attractive to criminals.
BERTH SALES AND HIRING AND TRAILER PARKING
As more and more people move to the Garden Route area the demand for membership of LIBC and the consequent use of our facilities conitinues to grow. Berths in the harbour and trailer parking bays in the trailer park are becoming more and more sought after and less and less available. As a result, at present, LIBC has a waiting list of about thirty Members who want to buy berths, there is a similar waiting list of about fifteen persons wanting trailer parking bays, and we are about to start a waiting list for Members wanting to rent berths in the harbour.
LIBC has well-established procedures for the buying and selling of berths laid down in the Constitution and Bylaws, and the Jetty Owners Agreements and we have always rigorously applied the rules which attempt to be fair and transparent to everyone. More recently in response to the growing demand for berths and the growing length of the waiting list, the Committee has produced a written Jetty Berth Sale Procedure which is available for any Member on request. The document sets out the procedure in detail but the basic “rules of the game” are summarised as follows:
You may sell your berth to another LIBC Member at a mutually agreed price.
LIBC will take a commission of 20% of the “profit” on the sale of any jetty. If LIBC considers the sale price to be less than market related the commission may be based on a market related price determined by LIBC..
You may bequeath or cede the right of use of your berth to a family member or to another natural person who is a member of LIBC. Such person would have to be a member in their own right before the berth sale can take place. Such transfers will only be accepted at the sole discretion of the LIBC Committee.
Under no circumstances may a berth be sold as part of a deal to sell a boat or house or any other property.
You may sell your berth via LIBC in which case the berth will be offered to the person highest on the waiting list following the procedure laid down in the abovementioned document.
You may not under any circumstances sell a berth to a non-member.
Any non-member wishing to purchase a berth would first have to become a member following the established procedure for membership applications, whereafter the name of such person would be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.
The same broad principles described above apply in the case where the use of a trailer parking bay is relinquished (trailer parking bays are rented from LIBC, there is no “sale” involved).
BERTH HOLIDAY RENTALS
Some Members may be wondering why they have not yet received the proceeds of berths rentals over the holiday season. These transactions are all currently being processed and the payments will soon be made but the truth is that this is a complex process which has to be carefully checked because we have a really long list of members with credit balances as well as an equally long list of debit balances because some members have still not paid their subscriptions for 2022/23. To make matters more complicated, many members who let out their berths do not want to be paid out but prefer having the amounts credited to their accounts.
If any Member is anxious about outstanding amounts, please contact Ray Turpin at email@example.com and he will immediately expedite your payment otherwise we assure you that everything will be sorted out as quickly as possible.
We attended the SANParks Park Forum meeting in February and as usual the reports and discussion were both interesting and encouraging. There is an enormous amount of good work being done by groups like Working for Water and Working for Fire who are not only slowly but surely clearing alien vegetation from valuable forestry land and water catchment areas but they are also creating employment opportunities for the poorest of the poor communities. We should all do everything we can to support such organisations. Of course there are also some negative sides to the story and the lack of action by the Knysna Municipality is very disappointing although once again it was heartening to note that there are a number of municipal officials doing as much as they possibly can behind the scenes with minimal resources and support. They have a thankless task and once again, they need support from the public.
The new SANParks manager for the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park is Pat Bopape who has taken over from Megan Taplin who has moved on to manage the Table Mountain Park. We wish Pat everything of the best for her stay.
in Knysna and look forward to growing the good relationship we have developed with SANParks.
The Knysna Catchment Management Forum, represented by our own Member, John Kennedy, provided an interesting report on the current situation regarding Knysna’s water resources and it was very disturbing to note that at the time of the report, Knysna’s water supply was in a dire situation with no flow in the Knysna River which meant that it was no long possible to pump water from the river (the town’s main source of water) into the supply dams which were at a worryingly low level. Thankfully since then we have had some very good rain in the first couple of weeks of March and hopefully the situation has improved, but the report was a timely reminder about the fragility of water resources in South Africa.
We call on all LIBC members to respect and comply with all SANParks regulations – they may sometimes seem to be a nuisance but they are intended to preserve this unbelievably beautiful environment that we are so fortunate to have as a place to live in or visit for holidays. If we all do our bit then there just may be something left for future generations to love and cherish, if we do nothing then very quickly there will be nothing left and it will all be gone forever.
SANPARKS PRESENTATION AT LIBC AGM
The highlight of the LIBC AGM held in December was a presentation by Kyle Smith, one of the marine biologists employed by SANParks as part of their scientific research team, who gave us a very interesting presentation on two of the scientific projects recently undertaken by SANParks in the Knysna Estuary.
The first presentation described a recent survey to scientifically determine the fish population and distribution of different fish species throughout the Knysna estuary. This is the first time that a survey of this nature has been undertaken and will provide valuable baseline data for future research.
The second presentation covered an investigation into the aggregation of Blue Stingrays in the Knysna Quays which is a rather unique event which takes place every year between August and November where hundreds of the stingrays gather in shallow water at the Quays in front of the Protea Hotel and have become a major tourist attraction. The study involved electronically tagging and releasing 15 fish which are now being tracked by a series of tracking devices located at various points in the estuary. The study is only in its infancy but is already showing fascinating results of how the fish are moving around, and so far none have left the estuary
WEBSITE AND CONTACT DETAILS
Erf No 2060
1 Links Drive
Phone 079 378 8252
Note that the phone is manned during LIBC office hours only,
September to May: 06h00 – 18h00
June to August: 07h00 – 17h30
Website : www.libcknysna.co.za
LIBC GATE NUMBER: 065 509 3553 (Your phone should be automatically registered on the access control system to enable you to use the facility to open the gate, but please check and inform Clive if you have a problem).