Outrage over Chapman's Peak office block

2012-01-10 10:21

Cape Town - Civic groups and environmentalists have lashed out at plans to build a two-storey luxury office block on Cape Town's scenic Chapman's Peak Drive, the Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The building, part of the multimillion-rand toll plaza development, will house the staff of Entilini, the private company that runs the toll road, and will be built on Table Mountain National Park land.

Philip Bam, deputy director of the Greater Cape Town Alliance, said Chapman's Peak belonged to all South Africans.

"No one has the right to claim it as their own," he told the newspaper.

"The reason we have [SA National Parks] is to protect our national parks and there is no way they should have allowed any encroachment. Parks should be sacrosanct. People do that route to see nature, not concrete."


Bam said it was arrogant of Transport MEC Robin Carlisle to say nothing would make him believe the proposed building would be unlawful because it would be on national park land.

Carlisle said constructing the office required a "small incursion" into Table Mountain National Park "which was signed off by the CEO so it’s all above board".

"We don’t need a monstrosity on the mountain with boardrooms and showers and entertainment rooms," said Terry Wyner, of the Civil Rights Action Group.

Patrick Dowling, of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, said he would support an inquiry into the legality of using parks land for the office building.

"The toll road has been highly contentious from the beginning. The issue for the need for the toll road was not satisfactorily dealt with, in the view of many citizens of Cape Town."

Making national park land available for a commercial activity such as this could set an unhealthy precedent for other national parks in the rest of the country, Dowling said.

A resolution by Parliament is required before any part of a national park can be withdrawn.

  • George - 2012-01-10 10:29

    Cry us a river Cape Town or would you like two huge power stations like Medupi and Kusile in your back yard??? get a grip.

      spookhuis - 2012-01-10 11:01

      I fail to see you point Gearge.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 13:24

      George, you must change your name to Dick!

      Karl - 2012-01-10 13:58

      Stop being so arrogant George. we are trying to stop have to look at some office block everytime we drive on one of the most scenic routes in SA let alone the world. If you had been part of some petition back then , maybe you could of stopped the power stations being built.

  • Leon - 2012-01-10 10:34

    "Making national park land available for a commercial activity such as this could set an unhealthy precedent for other national parks in the rest of the country, Dowling said." Under which rock was this guy sleeping the last few decades? Kruger has a large number of successful commercial ventures.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-10 10:56

      It all depends on how they do them. Kruger has some plans on the go that is going to make it resemble DisneyWorld. Change is not always a good thing, and seldom reversable. I guess it depends what things in life you value - ours obviously differ.

      Richard - 2012-01-10 11:09

      Does the Kruger have a view like Chapmans Peak ? Does the Kruger only have one road in and one road out ? Really ...

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:34

      Those commercial ventures benefit the Kruger Park. It sounds like this venture at Chapmans Peak will only benefit Etilini.

      Chris - 2012-01-10 11:46

      Leon, this is the point, the shops in the Kruger has some benefit for tourists and the Park itself etc... This toll booth system has absolutely no benefit for citizens, this will only make money for Entlini. I bet some corruption scandal will surface from this in a few years time, like the new claims of Malema's "land grab"

      George - 2012-01-10 12:54

      Yes Leon but dont go there please....not the Cape, its waaayyyy better than the Kruger. You might upset the Southerners.

      Jacob - 2012-01-10 14:02

      Typical response from an arrogant and ignorant Blue Bulls supporter...they are all the same S$#%!!

  • jacques.koorts - 2012-01-10 10:43

    There goes some nice fynbos. Only found in that area I might add.

      George - 2012-01-10 12:55

      Hope they dont destroy the marijuana crops.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-01-10 10:44

    I find it hard to take these complaints seriously when you have overly dramatic people calling a small two-storey building a "monstrosity." Come's not an 80 floor skyscraper they're proposing. I also find it ironic that most of the complaints are originating from Hout Bay residents - the same people that clearly had no issue with the bulldozing of pristine coastline involved in the creation of their private homes. One could also argue that Chapman's Peak Drive - the road itself - has done far more damage to the coastline than any double storey office building hidden in an alcove in the mountains could ever cause. It required large amounts of rock and vegetation be removed from a length spanning the entire coastline. The upgraded toll booth is likely to look far better than the current little hovels they have on site anyway. I don't think it's ridiculous that those working the toll booth work on site and be afforded the amenities the large majority of office workers are afforded in this day and age.

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:37

      Just a 2 story building today. Maybe another two stories in a few years time along with a larger parking lot. Then maybe a small supermarket for the residents with an accompanying parking lot. Maybe a small school and church to compliment the rest of the growing village.

  • estee.mente - 2012-01-10 10:46

    how about we bomb the entire city and plant a forest, surely at some point, the land there also formed part of "untouched" nature...these environmentalists are counter productive at times, can they come up with viable alternatives.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-10 10:57

      Tell that to your kids one day - when they have nothing "real" left. Glad I did not bring children into this selfish world.

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:54

      Exactly Estee - The drivel you spew forth could be used as fertilizer.

  • renejupp - 2012-01-10 10:50

    Why can't it just be left alone? Chappies is a special place, and building on it will ruin it

      George - 2012-01-10 12:58

      Just like the Farmers in Northern Province complaining about Medupi getting built there...our kids will get sick, they will pollute the ground water etc etc, well eff off we dont want anymore power plants in Mpumalanga so a small office at the so called peak aint all that bad.

      phillip.havenga - 2012-01-11 16:55

      George, rather be silent.

  • Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-10 10:52

    The "small incursion" will be the beginning of the end. I must admit, I am shocked by how selfish all these beach front home owners are in the Cape. People who already have a beautiful view of the sea with single story houses, add extra levels without any consideration to home owners behind them. I cannot believe people can be so spiteful or inconsiderate. When I become president one day I'll make them demolish these extra levels, if they complain they will be hanged.

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:38

      You have my vote Chum Scrubber. Can I get the demolishing tender???

  • antoinette.jordaan - 2012-01-10 10:54

    Actually, we're not grumbling about "everything". It will just look horrendous - same as that damn hotel they built on the mountain. There's no need for it, so why the heck do it? There's an entire suburb on both ends of the mountain, so why is it necessary to build in the mountain?

      lydonmcg - 2012-01-10 11:01

      Because that's where the toll booth is! And I assume by your "it will just look horrendous" point that you've seen the final architectural designs and finishes?

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:39

      Unless it's built of grass, bush and rocks then I agree with Antoinette and I'm not even from Cape Town.

  • Geoff - 2012-01-10 10:57

    A few blue notes will get you anything in SA

      Barry Smit - 2012-01-10 11:28

      "Everything is above board", except the blues that went under the table...

  • Simon - 2012-01-10 10:58

    Sure it is a small building, and the parking required to service said facilities? Conference and offices presuppose a large area number of visitors who will require parking. So the building might be sensitively designed, but I have never seen a pretty parking lot. Factor that with the complete lack of space for a parking lot (either a large swathe cut into the upper slope or a massive concrete monstrosity cantilevered over the sea). Sure parks have a commercial component, but most of them have a reasonable amount for flatish land on which to proved parking etc.

  • Nicolaas - 2012-01-10 11:04

    Doesn't look like they thought this one through, apart from the whole building on a national park which is sacrilegious, did they ever consider the frequency that Chapman's Peak is closed off ? I hope their office chairs are nice and uncomfy to sleep on.

      Kala - 2012-01-10 11:42

      I was also wondering about that. Although if the road is closed then there is not much point in manning a toll booth.

  • Helen - 2012-01-10 11:04

    What a bunch of lowdown scoundrels to want to spoil the little that's left. You clearly don't know CT, Sargon, or you'll be aware that our National Park already has the necessary conference rooms.And the scum keeps rising.

  • Richard - 2012-01-10 11:05

    I cycle and run the chapmans peak road over weekends , and already the toll gate is breaking chapmans natural beauty , an office block will destroy it , people will increase litter will arrive and it will be over commercialised .I will personally support any one and everyone against chapmans peak office block .

  • STYLEbudd - 2012-01-10 11:09

    If it brings in resources for the Park why ever not, camouflage it with bush or grow grass on the roof like they do in switzerland......make it eco friendly.....whatever!

  • Barry - 2012-01-10 11:15

    This is not news.

  • Arthur - 2012-01-10 11:19

    Looking for recruits for Chapman's Boulder Rolling Society. Entails gathering above construction site during building opeartions and rolling boulders down on it.

  • xcentricdave - 2012-01-10 11:23

    How many managers does the company running the road need? Surely a small portacabin would be big enough? Sure they need plenty of people to mend the road and the barriers and the nets, but a two storey office block. Nah, not that many managers required. There is plenty of commercial property available in Cape Town to let right now. No need to spend money that could be better spent on road maintenance or lowering the tolls. Oh and building in protected National Park land for a corporate HQ is just plain stupid. This is not a conference centre, visitors centre, accomodation or indeed anything promoting or assisting visitors to the park. Suits just want a swanky building in a cool location. Sorry no.

  • billidp - 2012-01-10 11:58

    How dare they??? Who sanctioned this and why?

  • Marie - 2012-01-10 12:01

    I love reading the comments! Some are valid, serious and others very entertaining!

  • piet.oliemans - 2012-01-10 12:07

    Toll roads are an unnecessary evil, to top it all off - the private company that runs the toll road wants to build on a portion of Table Mountain, that belongs to all SA citizens - what a bloody cheek!!! Robin Carlisle - You as a representative of the DA, should know better than to allow this. We don't care whether it's been signed off. We don't care whether "it's only a small incursion". What's next? Another small incursion, then another, then another, where will it stop? No, Robin- you are morally wrong to allow it! And to Entilini - You Bunch of Incompetent, Arrogant Idiots - not only do you steal our money, now you want to deface our heritage as well? Stuff off....

  • derwyn.oxley - 2012-01-10 12:12

    Is it just me or are the planners a complete bunch of idiots? The simplest and best solution would be to move the toll booths to the very beginning/end of the road itself. this way, we get back the road, fynbos and nature and the office that somebody thinks is so desperately needed can be situated next door. Simple solution, keeps all happy and my consulting fees can be paid into my personal bank account. Makes my mind boggle!!!!!!!!!!!!

      George - 2012-01-10 13:03

      Bulldoze the bloody dump and put a shopping centre in there as well, they do it all over the highveld so why not Chapmans peak, go to the Lowveld and see all the crap there, suck it up Capetonians there's sod all you can do about it coz what the government says goes. BTW hope its a real eyesore.

      nicolettewill - 2012-01-10 13:37

      Wow George, need a hug? Seems someone has a chip (or chap) on their shoulder? Just because you think your part of the world is stuffed up doesn't mean us Capetonians should settle for anything worse...? Instead of venting on news sites why don't you start a lobby group? Sounds like you have enough pent up anger to get you started... ;)

  • procold2 - 2012-01-10 12:45

    follow the money and you will find that a tenderprneur or someone in gov is collecting

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-10 13:37

      Maybe Robin Carlisle

  • Karl - 2012-01-10 13:54

    Well if we have to rely on parliament to stop it we are stuffed. All it will take there is a 4x4 & a promise of some kind of tender to supply the paint or something.

  • Joey - 2012-01-10 14:08

    Thats Capetonian mentality for you.. If you so worried about the Table Mountain National Park Land then remove the cable cars and the shop on the mountain and let tourists walk up... Use your heads !! This is to generate revenue for the City.

      Cassandra - 2012-01-10 15:03

      Honestly? Capetonian mentality?? Just because we want to protect what we have? There is a difference between a f*&$ cable car and a god dam office park you moron! THINK!

  • Cassandra - 2012-01-10 15:00

    o god i hope we don't turn into Johannesburg where all you can see is smog and buildings! Waking up every morning i am a stone throw away from Chappies and waking up to go to work and looking at whats around me makes me relaxed and feel like im always on holiday. Something as ghastly as a bloody office park can only be accepted by those who obviously don't experience the drive on a daily basis.

  • Alex - 2012-01-10 16:12

    I for one am against the whole project. However if the project goes ahead, it has the potential to be a magnificent building. If designed correctly, and with great sensitivity shown to the surroundings and the size of the building. The Nature lover in me says "No!" But the architect says "Yes." Might not be such a bad thing.......

  • george.kamfer - 2012-02-15 18:43

    Once they built this monstrosity, who owns it. Does it fall under national park property or does Entilini own this land all of a sudden. If the latter then can i also please buy a nice piece of land in the groenvlei nature reserve?? Seems like National Park land is up for grabs if you have enough money.

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