Clubs in bid to halt velodrome plan
Cape Town - Two major cycling clubs are taking legal action to stop the City of Cape Town and Devmark Property Group from starting work on the Galleria development at the Bellville Velodrome at the end of the month.
The Bellville and Tygerberg cycling clubs contend that the city has reneged on its lease agreement with the Bellville Sports Federation by not providing “comparable” alternative premises so that athletes could have “continued, undisturbed” use during construction.
The Bellville club was issued with a notice in 2011 when the tender process for the redevelopment of the velodrome was completed.
Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects, said the city’s intention in entering into a lease with the private sector to manage the velodrome was to ensure that the facility would be better managed, while accommodating the existing sports clubs.
She said the contractor agreed to accommodate training sessions until building work at the site made this impossible.
In correspondence with mayor Patricia de Lille, KC & Associates, acting for the two cycling clubs, said the city had approved Devmark Property Group’s rezoning application without referring to the existing lease agreement, which is valid until 2023.
This lease stipulated that the city would provide alternative premises for training if the use of the facility changed.
But the city’s compliance and auxiliary services and legal services departments have responded by saying that they disagreed with many of the cycling clubs’ claims.
The city provided the clubs using the Bellville Velodrome with three months’ written notice, and there was no provision in the lease agreement that entitled the clubs to use the facility.
“We are of the opinion that the city has no obligation to provide alternative premises in this regard.”
As a “gratuitous act”, the city had identified a possible alternative venue and investigated its feasibility. The cost of restoring these premises to make them suitable for cycling would cost about R7.5 million, said Charlene Davis, legal adviser in the city’s property, environmental and planning law unit in correspondence with the cycle clubs’ legal team.
Davis said the city met the national department of sport and recreation in March about possible funding.
But there had been no response to follow-up queries.
The city was unable to move forward with venue alternatives until it had confirmation of funding.
Abdul Davids of the Bellville Cycle Club said the city was avoiding its contractual obligations and that changes to the velodrome would mean that clubs would have less than 10 percent of the usages they currently enjoyed.
He said there had been no consultation with the affected clubs before the city signed the development agreements.
Meanwhile, the clubs’ members were unsure whether to invest in equipment when the future of their training facility was in limbo. The velodrome is also used for league meetings, among other purposes.
Furthermore, the city was not entering into an agreement of intention dealing with the use of the facility once the Galleria development was complete.
But Walker said: “In terms of the tender received by the city, the management of the velodrome and athletics stadium will be taken over by the developer. Devmet will also undertake to upgrade the velodrome in order to enable the multipurpose use of the facility. A strategic vision underpins the redevelopment...”
Walker said the mixed-use development would be an economic and job creation boost for Bellville and the city.