This comes after residents living close to the racecourse clashed with its management because of the alleged disturbance caused by vehicles and excessive noise from the venue.
Following public consultations, the municipality took a resolution to grant Gold Circle a special permit based on a majority vote in the council.
However, the DA voted against this and claimed Gold Circle had not addressed the residents’ complaints.
The council said it was necessary to promote the efficient use of municipal-owned properties to encourage economic development and long-term sustainability.
Gold Circle operates its business interests at Greyville, under a lease agreement with eThekwini Municipality.
Ward 27 councillor Martin Meyer described the approval as a slap in the face for residents, as most of them had raised objections during the consultation process.
“In this case, you ask yourself, what is the need for public consultations if the council still ignores concerns raised by the residents? There were over 63% objections from residents; people are upset. Residents from Morningside and Greyville are affected by noise coming from all directions, including People’s Park and Currie’s Fountain,” Meyer said.
Greyville Racecourse is popular for hosting the annual Vodacom Durban July, and during the year, conferences, seminars and functions are hosted at its convention centre.
“It’s unfair for the council to just say these are issues of by-law enforcement and metro police should enforce them,” said Meyer.
“The residents are fine with the Durban July because it’s annual, but it’s unfair that every day or during weekends there are other events. This means all the time they have to phone the police for traffic control and bear the noise until the events come to an end. It’s not right,” said Meyer.
Gold Circle senior events and marketing manager Stephen Marshall said the main business interests at the Greyville location included administration, providing facilities for horse racing, events and conferencing.
“The public activities are generally split into 80 race meeting events per annum (both daytime and night-time), offering facilities for conferences, seminars and functions, as well as providing a venue as an education examination centre.
“Current traffic activity trends in the precinct are expected to be similar to those of previous years. Gold Circle has always operated its business within the framework of its current lease, the eThekwini Municipality’s by-laws and licensing requirements, and the special consent application process has now been finalised following a request by the municipality,” said Marshall.