While the City of Cape Town’s talks with the Western Province Rugby Union about the Cape Town Stadium appear to have temporarily stalled, Green Point residents say they support the municipal entity business model that will make the venue financially viable.
“It would obviously be beneficial to all the ratepayers of the city if the costs of running the stadium were reduced,” said Luke Stevens, who co-chairs the Green Point Ratepayers’ Association.
Negotiations between the city and the union hit the skids after media reports alluded to “behind-the-scenes” talks.
The union then suspended discussions, and cancelled this week’s workshop between the two parties, which would have considered various financial options.
Mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing Grant Pascoe, said yesterday afternoon that the city had not yet heard from the union about the resumption of talks or the workshop.
The union did not respond to messages or e-mails about the workshop by the time of publication.
Meanwhile, Stevens said the association would welcome it if the city brought in a “stable” anchor tenant such as the union.
But he stressed that the city needed to review the way it managed events.
“If the city is going to run the stadium and an anchor tenant (like the union) is going to ensure its regular use, then the city needs to acknowledge the transport infrastructure deficiencies of having built a stadium at one end of the metropole with a single point of access.”
The changes that were needed included residents-only parking and restricted car access.
Stevens said that while the stadium cost about R60 million a year to maintain, this translated into a spend of about R1 a month on a rates bill of R500 for each ratepayer.
“One rand a month seems to be worth the cost. So, extreme measures like selling the stadium to a private concern for R1 would probably not have been wise. Nor would it be wise for the city to sink hundreds of millions of rands of ratepayer money into speculative commercial property developments on remaining areas of public open space on the common, in misguided attempts to increase revenue.”
Events such as the Nelson Mandela Memorial Concert showed that the stadium could be used effectively, he said. - Cape Town