In-principle lease renewal approval granted to Rondebosch Golf Club

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee have granted an in-principle approval of the lease renewal application of the Rondebosch Golf Club which includes the addition of a cancellation clause.

The proposed term is for the revised period of ten years
with the introduction of a two-year cancellation clause should Council
contemplate a different usage for these erven.

The approval of the lease renewal application is in line
with a professional recommendation made by the City’s Property Management
Department served before the Mayoral Committee on the 20th of
October 2020. The ‘in principle’ approval will be placed on the City’s council
agenda for the 29th of October 2020.

The current lessee is a registered Not-for-Profit
organisation and it will be responsible for the estimated R6 million annual maintenance
and security costs of the property, aside from the R10 000 per annum golf
tariff applicable to all courses on the City’s land for the 2020/2021 financial

The economic and community benefits

The proposed property usage benefits the community
economically, socially and it creates employment opportunities.

Cape Town drives the region’s firm share of golf tourism at
over 46% to 50% of the overseas and domestic markets with a R226 million local
economic contribution from golf players alone according to a 2015 study. The
City also hosts numerous Sunshine Tour tournaments.

Rondebosch Golf Club plays a role in the Cape Town golfing
community with a diverse membership and a successful youth development
programme. The club’s community benefits include a multi-use facility and publicly
accessible parkland while contributing to employment, all at no cost to the
City. Charity golf events are a regular fixture at the club.

The development constraints, wetlands, and river
ecosystem health

The property is zoned for Community Facility Use and Public
Open Space due to severe development constraints and for environmental reasons.

The constraints include:

  • The course is situated within a high flood line /
    wetland and it is prone to flooding. The golf course was designed to provide a
    holding area for the on-site storage of floodwaters to prevent flooding of the
    adjacent area.
  • There are access limitations for vehicles and
    public transport with no access points along the 1.5km extent of the elongated
    property with the Black River running through it.

The golf course plays an important role in managing water
pollution in the Black River ecosystem.

A focus on more affordable human settlement opportunities

The City’s Spatial
Planning and Environment as well as Human Settlement Directorates have
confirmed that the property is not suitable for housing purposes at this point,
with a two-year cancellation clause built into the lease agreement, should this
position change.

While the
Rondebosch site has severe development constraints, lease renewals for golf
courses on City-owned land should not be confused with a final decision on whether
future housing would be built on a property or not, which is a separate
legislative process entirely.

The City’s draft Human Settlements Strategy, which is out for public comment until the 30th of November 2020, is clear that all municipal land is being assessed for human settlement potential, including golf courses.

The strategy
calls for innovative thinking around accommodation types, partnership-driven
developments in urban centres and the consideration of suitable land not used
before for housing, such as golf courses.

All workable
options continue to be explored in a balanced and holistic manner and in
accordance with the due process to see how to enable the increase of affordable
accommodation stock in Cape Town and to enable greater spatial transformation
within the city.

Options that will
be considered under the strategy include the potential reduction in size of a
golf course to incorporate or to leverage income generating compatible uses,
which may include infill housing opportunities.

Lease renewal to serve before Council

The in-principle
approval of the lease renewal will now serve before City Council on the 29th
of October 2020 with a final report due to serve before Council at a later
stage in terms of the process.

During the public
comment period, a total of 1 682 objections were received via Ndifuna
Ukwazi which includes one formal objection, 316 signed submissions, 1 116 online
submissions and 249 petition signatures. Further objections were received via a
petition (100 signatures) and 45 public online submissions.

Objections related to the use of the
site for housing, addressing spatial inequality, and the golf course tariff.

A total of 95 comments were received
via the Sybrandt Park Civic Association representing residents which supported
the lease renewal. Further comment was received from the Pinelands Ratepayers
and Residents Association and 17 General Public online submissions.

All objections and comments were considered
in the professional recommendations made by the City’s Property Management

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