Should City keep the keys to the urban park?

2017-06-27 06:00

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Green Point residents are on guard after being informed that more large concerts will take place in the Green Point urban park.

Following a concert by the Lumineers, which saw a section of the park closed for almost a week to erect a large stage, disgruntled residents are calling on the City of Cape Town to halt similar concerts planned for the rest of the year (“‘Stay out of my park’”, People’s Post, 2 March).

At the Green Point Residents and Ratepayers’ Association annual meeting, representatives said the organisation had been informed of four concerts, which would see sections of the park closed for most of November and December.

The association’s Brenda King says although they have asked for more details from the City, none have been given.

After the Lumineers concert, a number of issues were raised by residents, says King.

“We are struggling through a process to obtain simple things like a copy of the noise permit issued, the approved structural plans for the stage and the height restrictions on the common, just to mention a few. Most importantly: Does the City have the right to close a public open space without public participation?”

Stuart Diamond, Mayco member for assets and facilities management, confirms that three events in the park are planned for the rest of the year and says during events only a section of the park will be closed.

“The closures will be kept to a minimum from a spatial as well as an event duration point of view. The closure of an area is necessary to ensure compliance with safety regulations. The rest of the park will be open for general use by the public. If the closure of a specific area is necessary this will be communicated to affected parties,” he says.

The current land use approvals for the site make provision for events to be hosted in a section of the park, explains Diamond.

“The event area is confined to the least used part of the park. It is the prerogative of an event organiser to make use of the park as a venue of choice.

“In addition, the park is a City asset that needs to be used to generate revenue. Event spaces have been identified in the park and these have approved tariffs for the use of the area. Event organisers will have to comply with the City’s event permitting process as well as the venue regulations,” he says.

“With the previous concert in Green Point park a noise management plan was implemented by the event organiser and the amplified sound levels were measured in compliance with the noise exemption issued.

“For future concerts the event organiser will be moving the stage position to the south of the park so that the amplified sound plays away from the park, which will substantially reduce the impact on nearby residents.”

King says around 900 000 people visited the park last year.

“The majority of the visitors were from communities and schools in the greater Cape Town area. This is the last public open space on Green Point common which is free and open to everyone,” she says.

“The rest of the common is available for hire and is far more appropriate for large events, as that was the proposed purpose for which they were commercialised. There is no logical reason as to why these events are not scheduled for the stadium or A track and which would have no impact on the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park or the park itself.”

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