Activists petitioning against River Club redevelopment hit a dead end
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Cape Argus - It seems activists who have petitioned against The River Club redevelopment for years have not been able to come up with a plan of action, and time is running out before bulldozers start breaking ground at the site.
On Sunday, activists held a briefing about The River Club after significant developments in the case.
Observatory Civic Association chairperson Leslie London said: “The development of The River Club at a time of centuries of injustice and the alienation of public land happened (when) state-owned institutions have been gutted. We don’t know on what basis that land was sold, but it was, and it is, a heritage site of significance. We don’t want the golf course there; we want it to be a park and not developed into a Century City.”
The latest development in the saga was a plea to billionaire Jeff Bezos for assistance, after it emerged that his giant tech company, Amazon, would be the anchor tenant in the multimillion-rand project, according to reports.
Civic groups have also lodged appeals with the Municipal Planning Tribunal, which gave the green light to the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) to develop the site.
The commissioner of the Goringhaicona Khoena Council, Tauriq Jenkins said they had been challenging every decision made about the development.
“We are willing to fight this and we are doing it legally. We will go the full route legally,” he said.
LLPT has proposed the construction of several 10-storey buildings and 11.7 hectares of building in the middle of a 100-year-old flood plain. Twenty percent of the development would be allocated for residential use, of which one fifth would be for developer-subsidised inclusionary housing.
Estimated to cost R4 billion, the project would include residential, retail and commercial components, a hotel, offices, a conference centre and schools.
LLPT trustee and spokesperson Jody Aufrichtig said: “The River Club site is a privately owned piece of land. The private redevelopment proposal for the site has already undergone an extensive heritage commenting and response process as part of the basic assessment report submitted to the Western Cape government, who granted environmental authorisation for the project.
“The process is currently at the appeals stage and we are of the opinion that the latest comment from the Impact Assessment Committee should not have any impact on this process and The River Club redevelopment.”