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Thursday May 23, 2013

Public speaks on Cape Town stadium's future

From seeing it demolished to make way for housing to selling it to interested bidders, the public has weighed in on what should be done with the Cape Town Stadium.

The city is reviewing public submissions after the first round of public participation drew to a close at the end of March.

The six most popular ideas which came out of 151 submissions were (in no particular order):

  • Demolishing the multibillion-rand venue and developing it into a residential space.

  • Public ownership models where people can buy a seat for a series of events.

  • Selling the stadium.

  • Converting it into a large indoor sports arena and conference venue.

  • Developing it into a mega market.

  • Donating the stadium to the Western Province Rugby Union.

    The public was asked to comment on several plans for the commercialisation of the R4.2 billion stadium. The city plans to apply to the provincial government to overturn the record of decision, which bans commercial activity.

    The city says it also plans to start another round of engagements about the future of the stadium with labour and business sectors in the city.

    At a finance portfolio committee meeting this month the true costs of the stadium were revealed. The figures show that aside from the R4.2bn it took to build the stadium, the city has, since 2009 spent R436 million on running the venue.

    So far, for this financial year, the city has made R12.2m from the venue, but the operating cost for 2012/2013 after depreciation amounts to R47.8m. The total operating cost since 2009/2010 to date amounts to R436m. The total income to the stadium in the same time period amounts to more than R92m.

    Mayco member for tourism, events and marketing, Grant Pascoe, could not give all the details of the comments, as the full public participation report first has to be tabled at next month's portfolio committee meeting.

    "At this stage we have to give serious consideration to the public's comments, as it is all part of having the record of decision overturned. From the submissions received we can see that the majority of people took their time to go through the proposals and really thought through their comments and put considerable effort into it.

    "We appreciate the time and effort people made to comment, as this is an important matter for all ratepayers," Pascoe said. He said the city was in continual talks with the Western Province Rugby Union and was trying to secure the best outcome for all parties.

    The city has previously indicated, in terms of its business plans, securing the union would be the most viable. Pascoe said most of the six most popular ideas for the stadium were in line with the business plan options the city presented to the public, barring the one which suggests demolishing the stadium for residential use. "The public's ideas are on the table and they will be taken seriously." They had to be taken into consideration throughout the process of applying for the record of decision to be overturned, Pascoe said.

    Cape Times

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