Cape Town - News that three large tracts of city-owned land in the Clifton and Camps Bay areas have been opened for bidding - by property developers keen to transform them into billion-rand hubs - has left residents furious.
They say that the city is effectively stealing the land.
Plans for the area of 50 000m2 include a boardwalk linking some beaches, an overhaul of the traffic network along Victoria Road, a 5 000m2 shopping and restaurant facility, and a large car park and upgraded forest trail.
A portion of what is made from the sale, which expires in 50 years, after which it reverts to the city, will go to building housing, according to deputy mayor Ian Neilson.
“As a response to the public request for social housing and improved community integration, 10 percent of the financial offer of the sale/lease proceeds by the successful tenderer will be earmarked for future city-developed, near inner-city social housing projects - the sites of which would be determined in the future,” he said.
Bidding opened yesterday.
Neilson said the site was about 16ha but only about 5ha would be developed. The development had a R1.5 billion price tag.
Specifications for the tender were developed after a public participation process last year, which saw objections to the council’s plans.
On Saturday Thandeka Sisusa, who represents domestic workers in Sea Point and supports the movement Reclaim The City, said she was against the sale of the land.
“They are going to be building garages when people don’t even have decent places to live,” she said.
Chris Willemse, chairman of the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association, predicted the city’s plans would be legally challenged by residents.
“We’re dealing with an administration that’s attempting to look after its friends and sponsors in the development industry… (It’s) a regime that’s stealing land,” he said.
Lorna Levy, vice-chairperson of Seafront for All, an organisation that works to keep open public space on the Atlantic Seaboard open to everyone, described the public participation process as a scam.
“In time, Cape Town will have lost most of its beautiful old buildings and houses, its natural beauty will have been tailored, shaped and scaled to suit the needs of a particular development.”
She was also concerned about the impact of the development on traffic. Neilson, however, countered that the city had paid attention to the public.
The tender is built on a large public infrastructure investment drive which is expected to see investment by the private sector in return for development opportunities on offer of an estimated R190 million for the upgrade of existing public spaces and facilities in the area, he said.
Once the bidding process for the land was complete, further public participation processes would take place. Heritage and environmental impact assessments would be considered.
Areas that form part of the revamp include Maiden’s Cove picnic area, between Clifton and Camps Bay, where about R55m will be invested to develop the “under-utilised public asset”.
A boardwalk between Clifton Beach and Maiden’s Cove, as well as Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach, is on the cards, with a price tag of R30m.
The buyer will have to spend about R25.5m on upgrading and renewing transport infrastructure on Victoria Road, and R23m on creating a boardwalk at Bantry Bay Point Caves to make the area more accessible.
Neilson said the Glen forest trail would need to be upgraded at a cost of R18m.
Steps from Victoria Road to Glen Beach and at Clifton would have to upgraded, at a cost of about R2.5m.