No end to Stadium row yet

2018-05-08 06:00

There is no end in sight to the row between the City of Cape Town and the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) over the Hartleyvale fields.

The association says it will do everything in its power to stop the construction of a 10 000-seater stadium in the area.

It is setting up a task team that will consider all means to stop the development in its current form.

“The OCA is deeply disturbed by developments at Hartleyvale,” the association says in a statement.

It emerged recently that the City entered into a three-year lease agreement with Premier Soccer League club, Cape Town FC. The City says the lease is for Field A and Malta Park Field B adjacent to the Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium. According to the City, the Hartleyvale A-field is currently being used for soccer and is not being
redeveloped.

However, the civic association is adamant the site has been earmarked for a new development.

“Cape Town City FC has stated that they intend to apply for the extension of the lease to 10 years and intend to build a 10 000-seater stadium on the site.”

The civic intends to challenge the decision to award the soccer club a three-year lease for the “ridiculously low rental of R8 500 per month”.

The association claims that local residents unanimously rejected the proposed development at a public meeting last month.

Reasons for the objections range from match-day traffic congestion and parking to light and air pollution, as well as a concern about the environmental impact of such a development. According to the residents the proposed stadium is also located in the “sensitive” Two Rivers Urban Park, an important heritage and environmental area.

The OCA says the objections including those raised at a subcouncil meeting in November 2017 were rejected and there were no reasons provided by the City.

The association says the proposal was “railroaded” through the City, and Mayco member for assets and facilities management, Stuart Diamond, has been making empty promises. The OCA accuses Diamond of failing to clarify reasons for recusing himself from public discussions about the matter and of not having honoured his promise to meet with the OCA to discuss the matter.

The OCA also wants Diamond to clarify if he has any relationship with John Comitis, owner of the soccer club.

“A number of amateur sporting codes will be prejudiced by the takeover of Hartleyvale and Malta Park. This is not something that we can allow to happen.

“A shopping complex and match-day disruptions will have a negative impact on the community,” the OCA says in its
statement.

However, Diamond refutes these allegations. He says due process was followed in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act and Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations dealing with the granting of rights to use, control and manage City-owned immovable property.

The City says the other local soccer club, FC Kapstadt, will continue to occupy a clubhouse and will continue to book fields on an ad hoc basis as is being done currently. The same rules apply to them as to community sports organisations across the city.

Diamond says he would continue to recuse himself where his participation may be considered impartial. He says although Cape Town City FC owners have expressed their intention to build a new stadium, no formal application or plans have been submitted to the City.

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