Activists have called out the City of Cape Town for delays in the development of affordable housing on the Green Point bowling green.

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The Western Cape Bridge Union Club, which is located on the disputed Green Point Bowling Green, will also be rented.

The City has repeatedly said it plans to use the well-located bowling green as a site for affordable and mixed-income housing.

The non-profit organization said in a statement that the City was renting out the space for about R3000 a year for exclusive uses that offered no benefits to the wider Cape Town population or the City.

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s head of organising, Buhle Booi, argues that resistance to well-located and affordable housing is similar to a revenue opportunity.

“If the City follows through on its commitment and develops the site as planned, it will not only provide much-needed, well-located affordable housing, but also generate extra revenue in the form of rates. The City will improve its financial and environmental sustainability by expanding densification,” Booi said.

“The City is not only delaying the development of mixed income housing in Cape Town, but it’s also missing out on millions of rand every year in lost rates revenue because of the fiscal crisis created by Covid-19. Booi said,”

Booi says that if the City of Boise should follow through with its commitment, and provide a clear and implementably plan on how the site would be inclusively developed, it is a matter of urgency.

Attorney Jonty Cogger spoke about their upcoming lawsuit to fight the renewed lease.

It’s frustrating to think of land being used for public benefit while still not having affordable housing. From the context of our serious housing crisis, it’s as upsetting as ever that the city either renege on their promise or is just delaying their plan, once again, to create affordable and mixed-income housing on this site.

“The City spent a considerable amount of money developing plans for the site to be developed for mixed-use housing, and yet these plans have been gathering dust in a filing cabinet in the Civic Centre for several years now,” Cogger said.

Lisle Brown, spokesperson for the city, said that a part of the property had been set aside for mixed-use development, including affordable housing. It was part of the city’s Land Release for Affordable Housing Priority Programme.

The company has leased the building to a crèche, bowling and bridge club for three years with a six-month cancellation clause.

Initially, the lease looked like it would be renewed for another year. After the initial three-year term expired, council had to advertise its intention to renew the lease agreement. This is to ensure that they are complying with state regulations before moving forward on the mixed use development and affordable housing project.

“The comment/objection period closes on November 7, 2022. Public inputs will then be assessed by the Mayor’s Committee and the council. The community will be consulted during the public hearings process.”

The annual tariff of R3000 is based on the ‘social care’ rate charged to welfare, charitable, cultural and religious organizations that are performing community functions on leased property owned by the municipality.

“However, it is not correct that only the rental costs are due to lessees. They also cover the cost of maintenance for the building and property which can be costly for the city.”
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Brown said that the City would not have to choose between affordable housing or anything else. The City planned to do both on this property.

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