The Observatory Civic Association (OCA) is deeply disturbed by developments at Hartleyvale. The Cape Town City Football Club has secured a three-year lease of the fields at Hartleyvale and Malta Park for the ridiculously low rental of R8 500 per month. Cape Town City FC have stated that they intend to apply for the extension of the lease to ten years and intend to build a 10 000 seater stadium on the site.
At a public meeting hosted last month by the OCA, residents unanimously rejected the proposed development for a number of reasons ranging from matchday traffic congestion, parking, light and air pollution and a concern about the environmental impact of such a development. This proposed stadium is also located in the sensitive Two Rivers Urban Park, which has important heritage and environmental area.
We are concerned that the proposal was railroaded through the City of Cape Town. At the sub-council meeting held in November 2017, all existing users of the sports fields at Hartleyvale and Malta Park were each given 3 minutes to state their objections. All objected to the City of Cape Town FC’s lease. All objections were rejected without providing any reasons for the same. At this same meeting, Councillor Diamond, who is also a Mayco member recused himself from the discussions, citing conflict of interest concerns. What these conflicts of interest were were never clarified and we call on Councillor Diamond to explain why he recused himself. We would also like him to clarify if he has any relationships with John Comitis, the owner of Cape Town City FC.
At a public debate on Cape Talk [audio here] between the chairperson of the OCA, Tauriq Jenkins, and Councillor Diamond, representing the City of Cape Town municipality, Cllr Diamonds claimed that the OCA was properly advised of the intended lease and therefore had an opportunity to make a submission. Mr Jenkins challenged him on air to provide proof of such notification and Cllr Diamond promised to provide us with the same. However, to date no such proof has been forthcoming.
Cllr Diamond furthermore promised to meet with the OCA to discuss our concerns but despite numerous attempts to set up such a meeting, he has failed to comply with his promise.
The OCA is concerned that the building of 10 000 seater is simply a disguise for John Comitis to get Hartleyvale rezoned for commercial purposes. He has stated that they intend providing for a number of retail outlets under the stadium, which will be in violation of the existing zoning of the area for recreational purposes. The establishment of a shopping complex on a busy intersection could lead to further congestion and will impact negatively on the existing businesses in Observatory.
The lack of transparency and the numerous empty promises by the City of Cape Town to properly consult with the OCA raises serious concerns about the bona fides of this proposed development. 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 matchday disruptions will have a negative impact on the community. The OCA is setting up a Task Team that will consider all means to stop this development in its current form.