An artists impression of the proposed development at The River Club in Observatory. Picture: Supplied
An artists impression of the proposed development at The River Club in Observatory. Picture: Supplied

Heritage site proposal for Two Rivers Urban Park put on ice

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Aug 11, 2020

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Cape Town – Heritage Western Cape (HWC) has put the brakes on a proposal by the First Nations Collective and civic and civil society organisations to have the Two Rivers Urban Park at The River Club in Observatory declared a provincial heritage site.

On Friday, HWC’s inventories, grading and interpretation committee ordered the parties involved to wait until after the completion of the heritage assessment study at the site for a decision on the matter.

Acting chairperson of the committee Jenna Lavin said: “We have received this nomination from a number of bodies. This application has not yet been circulated to the relevant landowners, which is a step that should be followed.

“There is still an assessment study that is in process, and will be discussed at the next meeting on August 24. The information in that assessment study will speak directly to this space. We cannot fully interrogate this significance of the site.”

The Two Rivers Urban Park is at the confluence of the Black and Liesbeek rivers, close to the city centre. The area has been touted as ideal for a development that can enhance job creation because of its environment and history.

Developers have proposed redeveloping The River Club. The project would cost R4 billion and include residential, retail and commercial components, a hotel, offices, conference centre and schools. The River Club is owned and operated by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust. Indigo Properties, which has been involved in the regeneration of the Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River and the Woodstock Exchange, and Zenprop, which would fund the development, are the main drivers of the project.

The City’s district spatial planning office manager, Nigel Titus, said: “The City is in support of the recommendations and this is given the fact that we are part of the heritage assessment study process. Our position is that that process should first be completed, so that it can assist us in identifying the exact resources and the extent of the protection that should be afforded.

“The City is also in the process of developing a local spatial development framework, which is about to go to the council for recommendation. This would also assist in identifying the potential uses (of) as well as the limitations on development, if any should be allowed.”

Two Rivers Urban Park Association chairperson Marc Turok said: “A number of people have indicated that they understand the heritage significance of the Two Rivers Urban Park.”

The Goringhaicona Khoena Council, and a member of the Observatory Civic Association, Tauriq Jenkins, said: “There is a complex history involved in this site and there have been a number of studies on this site. It would be important to allow the process to be followed this land is enormously valuable to the people of this country.”

Nicholas Smith, who represented the developer for the proposed redevelopment of The River Club, said further investigation by HWC was required before such a proposal could be adopted.

Cape Argus

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