The Maiden's Cove project will include a city initiated affordable housing project in the near-inner city precint. Picture: Willem Law
Cape Town - Clifton residents are breathing a collective sigh of relief after the City of Cape Town announced that it would no longer oppose the Western Cape High Court decision to review and set aside the development of Maiden’s Cove.

On Friday, the city announced that, after careful consideration and taking into account the concerns raised by the broader public, it had decided to withdraw its opposition to the review application.

The city awarded a R1 billion contract for the development in September 2017, and the developer is set to continue opposing the application.

“To date, the city has opposed the review application. However, over the past months we have taken note of the concerns raised by residents, non-profit organisations and others,” the city’s statement read.

“These concerns relate to the impact the proposed development could have on Maiden’s Cove and how it could affect those who frequently visit the area. We have heard their pleas, read their letters and opinion pieces and reflected on their arguments,” the city said.

The city awarded a consortium called K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd the contract last September, saying the proposed development would improve “public access to the beach, ocean and recreational facilities as well as protect the natural vegetation, enhance local and international tourism potential, and unlock investment to drive job creation”.

The development was set to include a 100-room hotel in the parking lot of Fourth Beach, 750 garages under the bowling greens at the Glen Country Club, 178 apartments in Maiden’s Cove, 54 bungalows on the Clifton tennis court site and field in front of the bungalow restaurant, commercial development of shops and restaurants and a 3m boardwalk from Camps Bay over the rocks across the path in front of all the Glenbeach Bungalows.

However, the applicants which include divorce and criminal attorney Billy Gundelfinger, who owns a bungalow in Clifton and is a committee member of the Bungalow Owners Association together with two prominent businessmen, Mark Willcox and Gavin Varejes, claim the development would bring little advantage to the area.

In court papers, the applicants charge that the city had failed to follow due process in awarding the contract and that public participation had been superficial.

The applicants’ attorney, Richard Summers, said the city’s withdrawal was a significant milestone.

He said the city had realised that the review was not defensible and that its decision-making had been flawed.

Vanessa September, the chairperson of non-profit Maiden’s Cove for All, which had joined the application, said it was wonderful news that the city had decided not to oppose the review.

“This will show the city that it cannot bulldoze its way to the residents and the general public but has to consult all affected parties,” said September.

Weekend Argus has reported that human rights activist and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs also had voiced his opposition to the development as it would limit the public’s access to Maiden Cove’s natural beauty and render the precinct exclusive to the rich only.

Sachs said it was not fair that the city had consulted the Tennis Club and the Bowling Club “but never even bothered to engage the people from the Bo-Kaap and the Cape Flats for whom Maiden’s Cove had become a place of magic and relaxation for years”.

Weekend Argus