Maiden’s Cove: bid to halt sale

Own­ers want beach front deal scrapped

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - NOLOYISO MTEMBU and KASHIEFA AJAM

THE CITY of Cape Town’s con­tro­ver­sial R1 bil­lion sale of land be­tween Clifton and Camps Bay to pri­vate de­vel­op­ers is back in the spot­light fol­low­ing a court ap­pli­ca­tion in the Cape High Court this week.

The Bun­ga­low Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion brought the mat­ter to court to set aside the sale of five hectares of land by the City of Cape Town to a com­pany called K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

The city coun­cil awarded the com­pany the sale in Septem­ber, say­ing the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would im­prove “pub­lic ac­cess to the beach, ocean and recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties as well as pro­tect the nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion, en­hance lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional tourism po­ten­tial, and un­lock in­vest­ment to drive job cre­ation”.

How­ever, the ap­pli­cants, who in­clude celebrity di­vorce and crim­i­nal at­tor­ney Billy Gun­delfin­ger, who owns a bun­ga­low in Clifton and is a mem­ber of the as­so­ci­a­tion’s com­mit­tee, and two prom­i­nent busi­ness­men, Mark Will­cox and Gavin Vare­jes, claim the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would do the op­po­site.

Seven re­spon­dents have been cited, in­clud­ing the min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs, Her­itage West­ern Cape and the SA Her­itage Re­sources Agency by lawyer Richard Sum­mers, rep­re­sent­ing the lit­i­gants.

In their 465-page court ap­pli­ca­tion, the ap­pli­cants and their sup­port­ers charge the de­vel­op­ment is not in the in­ter­ests of the res­i­dents and the de­ci­sion by the city coun­cil to sell and lease the site and to em­bark on the Clifton Precinct Up­grade de­vel­op­ment “com­pletely ig­nores and flies in the face of the site’s pro­tected sta­tus”.

The sale took place although Maiden’s Cove is part of the Clifton scenic re­serve and is a pro­tected provin­cial her­itage site in terms of the Na­tional Her­itage Re­sources Act 1999. The pub­lic land sold in­cludes the Glen Coun­try Club, the bowl­ing greens, the club­house, free pub­lic park­ing space on Fourth Beach, St Gabriel’s Church (built in 1926), the old restau­rant site, the Clifton Scout Hall, pub­lic toi­lets, a cricket oval, the Maiden’s Cove pic­nic and recre­ation area and the Bun­ga­low restau­rant site.

Nele Ver­maak, the chair­per­son of the Bun­ga­low Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said the as­so­ci­a­tion had about 170 mem­bers, all of whom owned or lived in the Clifton, Glen Beach and Bakoven ar­eas.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion’s main ob­jec­tives were the con­ser­va­tion of the unique char­ac­ter of he bun­ga­lows lo­cated in Clifton, Glen Beach and Bakoven con­ser­va­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment (in­clud­ing the land and sea) and the her­itage as­so­ci­ated with it and com­pli­ance leg­is­la­tion,” she said.

Priya Reddy, City of Cape Town spokesper­son, said the re­view ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing pe­rused by the city coun­cil.

“See­ing that this mat­ter is be­fore the West­ern Cape High Court the city will not com­ment un­til the case has been fi­nalised.”

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