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Friday Jul 26, 2013

'Complete' audit of all Green Point lease holdings

The Green Point Ratepayers' and Residents' Association says the proposed development of the historic Fort Wynyard site was a 'wake-up call' and a reminder that the battle for the protected use of the Green Point Common is far from over.

The Green Point military facility is next to the Cape Town Stadium close to the old Green Point Stadium.

It will start a 'complete' historic audit of all the lease holdings, land ownership and land-use rights affecting the common so that it can hold owners and leaseholders accountable when development plans are mooted.

Although the SANDF has terminated the project - which included an investigation into the feasibility of constructing a luxury four-storey hotel and bistro on the Fort Wynyard site - the civic association said it had to protect the common from further development and commercialisation.

Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup, was a 'predicted liability with dire financial consequences for the city', said Mark Magielse, co-chair of the Green Point Ratepayers' and Residents' Association. 'However, this does not justify the development and commercialisation of any remaining portions of the common to offset losses.

'Nor should developments be permitted that provide unfair short-term gain to any title deed holders or leaseholders.'
Magielse said the fort could become an education and tourist attraction with a few 'motivated restorations and minor safety precautions'.

The CSIR was appointed in January to call for proposals for military endowment land in Green Point and Tamboerskloof. Project manager Hans van Wemelen said Fort Wynyard's views of the sea and Table Mountain made it the perfect location for an upmarket hotel.

But Magielse said a site visit to the fort revealed that the mound which houses vaults and underground tunnels was intrinsic to the military history of the site. 'It would be quite impossible to position any substantial new building there without utterly destroying that narrative.'

The ratepayers' association's Luke Stevens said: 'We hope that this reflects a permanent rethink.

'Given that the rate of decay of the site artifacts clearly exceeds the pace of restoration, it would be nice to see the SANDF rather spend their money on a study of how to transform the fort into the historic tourist attraction that it has the clear potential to become.'

The SANDF has still not responded to questions about why it has canned the project.

Cape Argus


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