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Thursday Jul 26, 2012

Cape Town okays stadium rezoning

The City of Cape Town will ask the provincial government to overturn strict regulations banning commercial activity at the Cape Town Stadium - and build a nightclub, restaurants, coffee shops and sports bars to make the struggling R4.5 billion venue commercially sustainable.

When the stadium was built, many Green Point residents were opposed to the development, citing cost, sustainability, high noise levels and traffic volumes. To appease residents, the province imposed restrictions, banning commercial and retail outlets, commercial parking and hiring out of commercial office space to third parties. However, after the World Cup the stadium proved to be a headache, costing the city R44.6 million to run a year, with very few activities taking place due to the high hiring costs.

Moving rugby from Newlands to the stadium has been suggested as a solution, but so far negotiations with the Western Province Rugby Union have been inconclusive.

The total operating budget for the stadium was R56.7m in the 2011/12 financial year, with the estimated income R12.1m.

Yesterday, the council mandated its executive director for tourism, events and marketing, Anton Groenewald, to ask the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to amend the land use rights for the stadium, its forecourt and Green Point Park to allow for commercial activities. Also, Groenewald has to facilitate consultation with all affected and interested parties, including the Green Point Urban Park Forum.

The city's business plan for the stadium, drafted by a business consultant, recommends that the city develop suites in the stadium, secure anchor tenants and let commercial space to retail outlets, conferences and offices, commercial parking and temporary hospitality facilities in the forecourt.

ANC councillor Andile Lili said the DA-led council favoured developments in "white" areas while stadiums in Philippi and Khayelitsha were under-developed.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, had previously voiced his objections to the proposed amendments but was relatively quiet during the council meeting. Contacted afterwards, Smith declined to comment and referred inquiries to mayor Patricia de Lille.

Meanwhile, the city made a loss of R247 330 from hosting the MTN Football Invitational match at the stadium on Saturday. The city reported that it had spent R2.6m hosting the friendly between Manchester United and Ajax Cape Town - but made a return of about R2.3m. The council also approved the payment of R3.5m to Primedia Sport for organising the event, which takes the city's loss to R3.74m. The council also decided that Groenewald should determine the revenue split between Primedia and the city for the open training session held at the stadium, once the total cost of the session had been finalised.

Independent councillor Kent Morkel said the match benefited the city because it promoted Cape Town worldwide. ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said the city was giving preferential treatment to Europe-based teams over local PSL teams Ajax Cape Town and Chippa United.

Sotashe said the event was a failure because the city spent more than it made from it.

But mayco member for transport, roads and stormwater, Brett Herron, said the stadium's expenses were covered by the money made from the match and that the only loss was the R3.5m paid to Primedia Sport.

Herron added that the match was a good advert for Cape Town as a tourist destination as the match was broadcast to over 100 million viewers worldwide.

Cape Times

 
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