Why is the Observatory Civic Association supporting this application to Heritage Western Cape?

The OCA is a civic that represents the interests of residents and businesses in Observatory. We pride ourselves in working towards an inclusive and responsive community. One of the principles of our Civic’s vision is to value the history of the area, actively recognizing the range of diverse heritages, including the forgotten and silenced histories of the area. For that reason, we have come together with representatives of the Khoi and other first nation groups, and with 29 other civics and NGOs to say that the Two Rivers Urban Park must be graded as a Provincial Heritage site, at the very least.

What is happening now at the River Club and in the wider Two Rivers Urban Park is a great injustice. The LLPT plan to develop a dense mixed-use commercial cum residential mini-Century City on a site of intense heritage and environmental importance. It is doing so in the face of an existing planning framework that zones the site as conservation Open Space. Yet, at the same time, we see the River Club’s plans, yet to be approved, appearing in the Local Spatial Development Plan for the Park developed by the City.

People with power and money have the ear of government and are able to insert their plans into what should be planning for the City as a Commons, not as a tool for private gain. As a progressively minded civic, we cannot stand back and watch democracy be subverted. We cannot stand back and watch HWC, the custodian of heritage oversight in the Western Cape, be bullied by developers and their supporters in government. The OCA knows about being bullied by developers. As you know, developers attempted in 2017 to take over the OCA because we refused to sing to their tune. But the community of Observatory came to the Observatory Community Centre to say we will not let democracy be undermined. More than two hundred residents and businesses came together to throw out a fraudulently elected sweetheart committee and re-establish a Civic for the people. We are here again for the same reason. To say that decisions about land, decisions about development, cannot be made in dark rooms without democracy.

HWC knows that the TRUP is of incredible heritage value. Grade it now!

Leslie London
Chair: Observatory Civic Association