An aerial view of The River Club, Observatory. File picture: Andrew Ingram
An aerial view of The River Club, Observatory. File picture: Andrew Ingram

Observatory civic association raising fund to fight River Club development

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - The Observatory Civic Association (OCA) has taken to social media to raise funds via the BackaBuddy platform to help pay for legal action against the Province’s approvals of the River Club development.

The OCA represents the interests of residents and businesses in Observatory and has partnered with over 60 Khoi groups, environmental NGOs and civic associations in opposition to the River Club development proposed by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) which currently owns and operates the River Club in Observatory.

The OCA has campaigned for the heritage grading of the entire Two Rivers Urban Park.

Back in February, Environmental Affairs and Economic Development MEC Anton Bredell rejected the OCA appeal against the environmental authorisation granted to the developers of the River Club.

The OCA claims the approval of the development was a bad decision on the Province's part as it ignored evidence of the adverse impacts of the development on the environment.

Regarding the BackaBuddy campaign, OCA chairperson Leslie London said: “The OCA is left with no choice but to take the granting of the Environmental Authorisation on review to the High Court.

“We will be doing this with other supporters as part of an ongoing campaign. But, because going to court is an expensive business, we need your financial support to enable us to do this.

“The money raised will enable a fair process in which the indigenous Khoi people who oppose the destruction of sacred land will be able to have their say about what kind of development happens on the land.”

The fundraiser comes on top of an online petition launched in February and signed by over 22 000 people so far.

The LLPT’s spokesperson, Jody Aufrichtig, has previously said that the planned mixed-use development would be a significant boost to the economy and people of Cape Town in the aftermath of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

Mayor Dan Plato’s spokesperson, Lyndon Khan, said: “The mayor has no comment at this stage.”

Meanwhile, city residents have been invited to attend open day sessions where they can ask officials questions at meetings about spatial vision, development priorities for Cape Town.

The draft integrated Spatial Development Frameworks (SDFs) and Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs) for the eight planning districts across Cape Town are available for public comment until June 6.

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “The draft district SDFs determine how the City should intervene on a local planning level to mitigate against constraints, and to enhance opportunities that will improve residents’ quality of living.”

Cape Argus

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