Cape Town - Five models are being considered to ease the financial woes of Cape Town Stadium, but they do not include either demolition or a casino.
Angry ratepayers described the plans for the stadium and its precinct as a “farce”, “smoke and mirrors” and a waste of ratepayers’ money.
The stadium generates between R12 million and R15m a year, but it costs the city and ratepayers R55m to keep it going.
There are two proposals to help the stadium pay its way: the commercialisation of the stadium and the development of Granger Bay Boulevard, an area beside the stadium fronting on to the road known as Granger Bay Boulevard.
But ratepayers have been told that demolition is not an option. Nor are there plans to ease the stadium’s financial woes with the building of a casino.
“The harsh reality is that this stadium is costing you and I as the ratepayers,” Geoff Underwood of Planning Partners told about 40 people who attended a meeting at the stadium.
“There is no proposal to put a casino in the stadium. If anybody comes up with any proposal, it would have to follow national law in terms of casino licensing,” Underwood said.
The meeting was the first of eight hearings to be held across the city about the background and draft scoping reports for the two developments.
Both sites will have to be rezoned for general business to allow for the commercial activity recommended by the business plan that was commissioned by the City.
The stadium has about 20 000m2 which could be used for commercial activities. There is also an opportunity to expand seating from 55 000 to 62 000. But the commercialisation of the stadium alone would not be enough to make it financially viable.
Granger Bay Boulevard has been earmarked for a mixed-use development that could include retail and office space, a sports science facility and a hotel.
According to the background and scoping document prepared for the city by The Environmental Partnership, all five alternatives for the development - which includes buildings ranging from 15 to 60m high - will have a significant impact on the area.
Underwood said the low-development model for Granger Bay would yield an additional income of R9m, and a high-development option with buildings at maximum height could yield up to R45m extra a year.
One of the most significant implications of the development is that the land will no longer be available for public use.
Heritage Western Cape has asked for an impact assessment to be considered. This must include an archeological study with particular reference to Fort Wynyard. The study should also look at the possible intrusion of the development into sightlines. The proposed development would also have implications for services such as water and sewer generation.
The report noted that the increase in commuters to the site “may potentially result in traffic congestion”.
However, Underwood was at pains to emphasise that no decision had been made yet on the “design forms or intensity” of the building that would go up at Granger Bay Boulevard.
Most of the 40 people at the meeting expressed concerns about the cost of running the stadium and the potential impact of these two developments. None of their questions were answered, however, as the consultants insisted that their comments would be noted for inclusion in the next report. One participant called it a “smoke and mirrors” meeting.
A member of the Green Point Ratepayers’ Association was concerned that a noise assessment would not be done for the stadium.
“There could be a discotheque or a nightclub at the stadium. This could be a serious problem if it is allowed to operate at the current decibels allowed for concerts and sporting events.”
The association referred to the plans to develop Granger Bay Boulevard as “error in logic” on its website. “Their temptation is to plug the full financial hole created by the R40m gap between the stadium costs and stadium directed revenues by developing to the maximum possible potential on the adjoining site.”
The association also questioned the city’s focus on the stadium precinct for revenue, when the funds could come from new developments anywhere in the city.
Carmen du Toit, of The Environmental Partnership, said the issues raised would be taken forward, and there would an opportunity later to comment again.
The period for comment ends August 22.