City of Cape Town approves River Club redevelopment

22nd September 2020 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

The rezoning application for the River Club redevelopment in Observatory, Cape Town, has been approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal.

After considering submissions from the applicant, interested and affected parties, as well as officials representing the City of Cape Town, the tribunal recommended the approval.

The city approved the detailed redevelopment application, with Municipal Planning Tribunal members stating that the project was “desirable, sustainable, trend-setting and a win-win situation for both the City and the public” and would result in a “catalytic development that is in the public’s interest”.

A statement on September 21 said this is “a major milestone” in a comprehensive, open and transparent development approval process for the planned mixed-used development by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust that has spanned four years.

The project will convert the current under-used private golf driving range, with limited public benefit, into a sustainable, inclusive and publicly accessible space for all Capetonians to enjoy as they live, work and play in the revitalised space.

The project will provide a range of socioeconomic benefits for surrounding communities including the creation of 5 239 jobs during the construction phase and the provision of developer-subsidised inclusionary housing.

It will also see the major rehabilitation of the current degraded, inaccessible private space, including the rehabilitation of the water courses, and will include 8.4 ha of publicly accessible open areas and 6 km of safe running and cycling pathways. 

The redevelopment will also restore and celebrate the First Nations’ rich heritage and history through the creation of a first-of-its kind Heritage Cultural and Media Centre in the City of Cape Town.

The First Nations comprise indigenous groups of people in Cape Town to reclaim, memorialise and share their heritage with the greater public.

The various First Nations groups in South Africa are collectively known as Khoe-San, which, in turn, comprise various groups of people.

The centre will be operated by the First Nations and will provide critical job opportunities to members of these communities. The project will also include an indigenous medicinal garden, Heritage-Eco trail and garden amphitheatre for use by the First Nations and the general public.

The detailed rezoning application that was submitted to the Municipal Planning Tribunal for consideration included comprehensive and independent specialist reports that meticulously assessed the biodiversity, hydrology, socioeconomic, visual and heritage impacts of the project.

This followed extensive public participation processes with interested and affected parties over many years.