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 year.
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 Department.