‘No hope for Cape Town icon’Comment on this story
Cape Town -
The City of Cape Town has not set aside money in its current budget for the “critical” repairs needed to keep the Good Hope Centre in working order.
And while there are long-term plans to reconfigure the Good Hope Centre precinct and possibly introduce mixed-use and housing opportunities, it is unlikely these proposals would be implemented within the next two to three years.
“The roof must be repaired and we need a contractor on site,” Anton Groenewald, executive director of tourism, events and marketing, said at Thursday’s tourism portfolio committee.
“But we don’t have that budget allocated in this financial year. We will need an extraordinary allocation in the adjustments budget (tabled towards the end of the year).”
It would cost between R8 million and R16m to start the critical repair work.
The tourism directorate has been trying for two years - since an assessment by engineering consultants Ingerop South Africa pointed to structural damage and leaks in the roof - to get a budget allocation for the repairs.
Of particular concern was the water damage in the bar and restaurant area, where many of the lighting circuits had to be abandoned because they were no longer safe.
“Such persistent leaks are the inevitable symptoms of a flawed design and no amount of maintenance and repair of the system will provide a satisfactory solution.”
The consultants also found that the foundation plinths of the reinforced concrete arches of the centre were “severely cracked”, posing a risk to the structural integrity of the foundations.
“There are critical repairs required because it is a facility under use,” said Groenewald.
According to the report submitted by Rade Boskovic, of tourism, events and marketing, to the tourism portfolio committee, the “domed roof to the main hall… is in serious need of repair or reconstruction due to the age, construction detail and damage”.
He said it would cost R2m for remedial work to the domed main roof, or R16m to construct a new roof.
Replacing the outdated cooling and air conditioning would cost about R5.5m.
Groenewald said the city could not afford to put the repairs on hold while it considered three possible scenarios for the reconfiguration of the precinct.
Community groups and non-profit organisations needed a facility where they could hold events at lower rates than those required by facilities such as the Cape Town International Convention Centre, he said.
An earlier report to the committee noted that the centre was booked for more than 150 days a year, with events that included the Hip Hop Indaba, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour expo, gospel concerts and pageants.
“We think it is part of the city and so requires massive investment.”
Groenewald said various models would be considered for the centre’s long-term use.
But National Party councillor Achmat Williams said the city should consider converting the roof into office space, instead of spending R24m on other office space.
Alternatively, he said, it could be more financially viable to sell or give the centre away to avoid the increasing maintenance costs.
DA councillor Demetri Qually said the centre would be included in a city-wide appraisal of council assets. “We have no option but to keep it going.”
Qually agreed that the city should look at the possible use of the centre for council office space.