Entries tagged with “Green Point Park”.


An elaborate plan to meet the R40 million or so annual shortfall in funding the Cape Town Stadium could see a ‘commercialisation’ of the Green Point sport and entertainment facility, to secure its survival, and to reduce the financial pressure on the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers.  The plan announcement has been overshadowed by SAA’s decision to cut the direct Cape Town-London route from 15 August, news which was announced on the same day, and is currently of far greater concern to the local tourism industry.

The City has been advised by consultants to turn the R4 billion Cape Town Stadium and neighbouring Green Point Park into a commercialised zone, which would allow nightclubs, shops, coffee shops, sports bars, restaurants, letting of office space, and even a sport hospital to be set up in the area, reports the Cape Argus.  In addition, stadium tours, a museum, a ‘hall of fame’, and a Sports Science Institute are planned. This would help Cape Town to be positioned as a ‘leading events, investment and tourist destination’, says the newspaper report.  The Stadium operating costs amount to R50 million per annum, with only R11 million earned in the past nine months. Ideally, the City of Cape Town would seek an anchor tenant. Talks with the Western Cape Rugby Union are said to be  ‘at a very early stage’, despite having been initiated a year ago already.  The City had to take back the management of the stadium when negotiations for its agreement with Sail Stadefrance fell through.

Other South African World Cup soccer stadia are offering guided tours of their facilities, and some have restaurants and shops too.  Looking to inspiration overseas, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium complex consists of hotels, flats, a nightclub, bars, restaurants, a megastore, and Chelsea World of Sport.

The City of Cape Town plans to apply to the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, to change the ‘Record of Decision’ for the stadium and the Green Point Park alongside it, with the view to change its zoning, which defines its uses.  Currently the zoning prohibits the commercialisation of the stadium and of the park, and would prevent the recommendations of its consultants, i.e setting up retail outlets, renting out parking space, and letting office space.  City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, has delegated the task of negotiating with the province to his relatively new Executive Director and head of his department, Anton Groenewald.

The Green Point Residents and Ratepayers’ Association has supported the plan in part, not wishing to see ‘blanket’ business rights for the area.

While the financial benefits of generating more income from the attractive and well positioned Cape Town Stadium have merit, we cannot see the proposed commercialisation thereof having any benefit to Cape Town’s positioning as an events, investment, and tourist destination, as claimed by the City of Cape Town. The City of Cape Town does not have a good track record of running tourism nor of organising events, the 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament which finished last week being embarrassing proof of this!

POSTSCRIPT 9/6: Interesting is an article in the Cape Argus, which reports that the City of Cape Town’s MyCiTi bus service ‘could need a R500 million yearly subsidy’, making the cost of the Cape Town Stadium look like small change!  This is not its running cost – the City of Cape Town approved a R1,2 billion budget for the public transport system for the  2012/2013 financial year!

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: Exciting news is that Manchester United will play a friendly match against Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday 21 July. Ticket prices will range from R150 – R350. The cost to the City of Cape Town is R7 million, Councillor Grant Pascoe is quoted as saying in Business Day, and 100 international journalists are expected to cover the event.

POSTSCRIPT 18/6: Even more exciting news is that Lady Gaga is coming to Cape Town on 3 December, for the ‘Born this Way Ball’ world concert tour, one of 110 in total.  The concert will be at the Cape Town Stadium.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6: The Cape Argus has reported that 23000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours of ticket sales opening up for the Manchester United match. On City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe’s Twitter timeline we have read that ticket sales have now exceeded 39000. A total of 50000 tickets is for sale.  The newspaper also reported that a special Guinness Book of World Records attempt to have the largest number of persons collectively singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Nelson Mandela in one place. Councillor Pascoe has justified spending R 6,1 million, with an income benefit of R2 million, because of the tourism benefit of the event. To date no such tourism benefit is evident!

POSTSCRIPT 29/6:  Earlier this week activist’ Terry Crawford-Brown has been vocal in The Times, in the Cape Argus, and the Atlantic Sun in calling for the demolition of the R 4 billion ‘white elephant’ Cape Town Stadium, and accused FIFA of ‘blackmailing‘ the city into building the stadium. The stadium’s construction was ‘unconstitutional‘, he claimed, given that the building of the stadium was not open, transparent, fair, nor cost-effective.  Councillor Pascoe clearly is annoyed by Mr Crawford-Brown’s communication, having refused to comment on it to The Times, and Tweeting disparagingly about it.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6:  The City’s design of the new Green Point Athletics Stadium, on the site of the original Green Point Stadium and adjacent to Cape Town Stadium, is disappointing, wrote Rashiq Fataar and Robert Bowen of Future Cape Town, in only allowing for 7000 spectator seats, reported the Cape Argus this week. The duo also is critical of its unexciting design, and not being worthy of Cape Town, lacking ‘a spirit and a character’.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6: The Times reported a week ago that the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association are ‘set to go to war with council’ over any new developments relating to Cape Town Stadium.  In building the stadium, the Green Point community was promised in 2006 that the commercial development of the previous Green Point Common would not be allowed. The association feels that the planned commercialisation would not cover the cost shortfall.

POSTSCRIPT 1/7: Councillor Pascoe has told the Cape Argus that demolishing the stadium is not an option! Capetonians polled by the newspaper showed that locals are proud of the world-class stadium and its design, and call for it to become the home of Western Province rugby.

POSTCRIPT 1/7: From Tweets seen it would appear that the Manchester United – Ajax Cape Town match at Cape Town Stadium is sold out.

POSTSCRIPT 4/7: Horror of horrors for Green Point residents: notorious ANC City Councillor and COSATU provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich is creating outrage by his suggestion that the stadium be used for low cost housing! The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association has rejeceted the proposal, as the title deed does not allow it, reports The Times.

POSTSCRIPT 19/7: The R81 million Green Point Athletics Stadium, being built in the shadow of the Cape Town Stadium, is having Green Point residents fear that a second white elephant is about to appear on their doorstep, reports People’s Post. They also fear the noise levels which could be emanating from the new stadium.

POSTSCRIPT 26/7: The Times reported yesterday that the City of Cape Town has approved the rezoning of the ‘Green Point‘ (sic) Stadium for commercial activity. It will now seek approval from the Western Cape province ‘to amend the land use rights’ for the Cape Town Stadium.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Today the World Cup 2010 started a year ago.  While many may remember the wonderful 30-day period nostalgically, the hard reality of this largest world event is attracting criticism in its impact on the hospitality and tourism industry, which has reached its lowest low, something other mega-event cities have experienced before.  The event was commemorated yesterday with the launch of a new coffee table book ‘CapeAbility: Stories and Successes from the 2010 FIFA World Cup’.

The infrastructure benefits of the World Cup cannot be denied : Cape Town has a renewed station building, a world-class airport, and far improved access into and from the city on its N1 and N2 highways. It has a beautiful Cape Town Stadium, which has become a tourist icon for the city in itself.  It has a most wonderful Green Point Park, which was developed next to the Stadium, as well as a general upliftment of the Green Point and Mouille Point area.  It led to the roll-out of the recently completed and far improved public transport MyCiti service.  It added more international hotel brands to the city’s five-star hotel portfolio.  It created an Ubuntu amongst Capetonians and the city’s visitors, on its festive flag-decorated Fan Walks.  It positioned Cape Town, and South Africa with it, as a safer country than had been perceived before.

But the downside appears to outweigh the benefits a year down the line: there is no operator for the Cape Town Stadium since SAIL Stade de France reneged on its contract with the City of Cape Town.  Cape Town ratepayers will have to carry the cost of operating the Stadium, not making ends meet with the few events that have been hosted in the venue since July last year.   The tourism industry suffered poor pre- and post-event bookings last year, and  was led to believe that it would benefit from a tourism boom that would last for years to come.   The industry was conned by MATCH, the FIFA accommodation booking agency, with massive cancellations just days before the start of the Wold Cup.  Surprisingly, the industry is experiencing its worst ever year, and even more surprisingly, Cape Town Tourism told its members yesterday that it was to have been expected, given the Sydney experience – a 5-year slump after the 2000 Olympic Games, largely because the city tourism authorities assumed that no marketing was required after the widely publicised event.  Cape Town appears to have made the same mistake, an error which is compounded by the poor UK economy, the largest tourism source market for the city, the strong Rand, and high airfares.

Not unsurprisingly, tourism consultants Grant Thornton, who badly overestimated the World Cup tourism numbers, praised the R40 billion national capital expenditure on the World Cup, the consultancy’s Gillian Saunders saying it was money “well spent, with some areas still to be leveraged”, reports the Cape Times. She states that the infrastructure benefit had ‘significant legacy value leading to a better quality of life and provided long-term valuable assets’.  She admitted that the slow recovery from the global recession was responsible for the lack of the tourism boom which had been predicted.  Yet she said that “a large number of tourism businesses would not have survived the economic slump if it weren’t for the event”.  She reminded the industry that R3,6 billion revenue had been generated and that just more than 100000 tourists had visited the Western Cape, and just more than double this number visited Gauteng.

Cape Town Tourism has blamed SA Tourism for focusing too much on wildlife and the natural beauty of the country, and too little on its cities, in its marketing of the country.  The World Cup had created a greater city focus, but this has not been sustained by SA Tourism in its post-World Cup marketing, Cape Town Tourism says.  To strengthen brand Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism proposes that the “city’s urban identity, innovative outlook, entrepreneurial spirit, academic excellence and pioneering medical and science sectors must be added to the brand palette in order for it to effectively compete in the domestic and global market”, in addition to its leisure tourism positioning, it is reported in BizCommunity.com.

The Cape Argus yesterday ‘shouted’ in a headline:”Post-World Cup tourism boom ‘non-existent’”, stating that the benefits have been the international performers who held concerts in the Stadium, the city’s improved infrastructure, and the survival of a number of tourism businesses.  It quotes Cape Town Tourism as saying that Cape Town is in a ‘brand vacuum’.  The annual operating cost of the Stadium is quoted as being R57 million.  Two concerts have been booked, and a further two are in the pipeline, according to the city’s new head of Tourism, Grant Pascoe.   Talks with Western Province rugby continue, he said.   He added that the city is receiving more event applications than it did prior to the World Cup. Developing the Fan Walk into a 24/7 facility is also being considered.  The oversupply of hotel accommodation can be attributed to nine new hotels with 1500 rooms in total, which were built for the World Cup, says Dirk Elzinga, Chairman of FEDHASA Cape.  He naively states that many hotels have already received repeat World Cup business, and that the ‘extremely low occupancies’ of some hotels ‘was normal for the off-season’!

Launched by Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia de Lille, the ‘CapeAbility’ book documents the ‘planning, delivery and effect’ of the World Cup on the Western Cape, says BizCommunity.com.   The book “makes every effort to extract honest lessons to understand the hosting of such mega-events better.  It is designed therefore not as a memento of the event, but a review of what worked, what didn’t and what could be done better and become a guide to hosting future events”.   “The book is meant to play a marketing role and points out that it is crucial that opportunities, such as the World Cup, are converted into more than just short-term profits for a small tourism and events sector, but into huge brand building opportunities for a country”. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The U2 360° concert in Cape Town on Friday evening will have contributed largely to the R 4 billion the City of Cape Town estimates is generated annually for the local economy from live performances, with 72000 spectators having attended a visually stunning and extremely well organised concert at the Cape Town Stadium. 

Writing in the Sunday Argus, the City of Cape Town’s  Executive Director of Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, states that films and events  are the largest contributors to the Cape Town economy, the film industry generating R5 billion, and conferences and live events R4 billion each.  Mohamed writes that it is not only income that is generated, but jobs are created too.   The services and products required to host such events go into the pockets of mainly Cape Town-based businesses, which in turn will pay for rates and taxes, and thus share the burden of payment of these to generate income for the city, but they will also share the benefit of the use of these monies (an excellent example is the wonderful new Green Point Park).

Writing about the contribution of the film industry to Cape Town, Mohamed mentions the two movies currently being filmed in Cape Town – ‘Safe House’ wrapped up filming on Kloof Street over the weekend, and stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, who have been seen eating at Cape Town restaurants, and hanging around in Camps Bay, another location for the movie.  ‘Judge Dredd’ is another movie being filmed, and the two movies combined have a production budget of R400 million, going to two Cape Town companies (Moonlighting and Cape Town Film Studios, respectively), and their suppliers.  In addition, still productions, and print advertising and TV commercial shoots contribute to the economy.   Mohamed requests Cape Town residents to be tolerant of road closures and other inconveniences linked to these, in understanding that every R1 billion income allows 15000 jobs to be sustained in the city.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival generated R685 million to the local economy, and created 2000 jobs, mentioned by President Zuma in his Station of the Nation address ten days ago.   It attracts 35 000 attendees, and runs over ten days, incorporating local art, culture and heritage, and local musicians blended with international stars such as George Benson.   Some of the local musicians performing at the Jazz Festival have received  bookings on international stages as a result of their performances at the Festival.  

The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour contributes R650 million to the local economy. It has attracted the attention of international VIP’s such as Matt Damon and Lance Armstrong, who have participated, and this has been recorded in the world media, having a tourism benefit too.  This year executives from top companies such as RIM (manufacturers of Blackberry), Sainsbury in the UK and Vodafone Europe will participate in the event.   Some Cycle Tour lovers are said by Mohamed to have bought houses in Cape Town, and they pay their rates and taxes annually and in advance, he writes!  “They create tomorrow’s tourists and South Africa’s future foreign investment”.  He added that events such as the Cycle Tour, the Jazz Festival and the U2 concert play an important role to ‘start, facilitate or help to close deals’.

The recent Mining Indaba, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, filled up all surrounding hotels, created a taxi shortage in the city, and filled up restaurants in Cape Town on a scale not often experienced in the city.   Delegates attending were from Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China, amongst others.    Similarly, the Design Indaba taking place at the moment as a Conference, Expo and Film Festival, is staging top international designers, such as Alberto Alessi, Michael Wolff, billionaire Mark Shuttleworth and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, with about 37000 delegates attending, according to Cape Town Tourism.  The Design Indaba attracts them to Cape Town, the city enjoying the most glorious weather currently, and therefore making future tourists out of these delegates, one can confidently predict, and more business deals benefiting the city could flow from this event, contributing R 232 million per annum.   At the Design Indaba the latest updated Cape Town Design Route map  will be launched, marketing some of the city’s top design artists and their businesses.

In September the World Veterinary Congress takes place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and will be attended by 3000 delegates, and contributing R30 million to the economy.   Other conferences to be hosted this year include the 4th Pan African Pain Congress (500 delegates), the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health (800 delegates), the Global Forum for Health Research Forum 2011 Meeting (1500 delegates), World Conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (600 delegates), The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences Conference (500 delegates), and the World Economic Forum on Africa (2000 delegates).

The 20th Cape Town Pairs, the largest sponsored open bowls event in South Africa, was held at the Glen Country Club in Clifton last week, and attracted 36 teams from around the country, as well as from the United Kingdom, Namibia and Zimbabwe.   The gale force Southeaster almost forced a change in venue, blowing over 100 km/hr!   We congratulate our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests Phil Downs and Greg Bingham from Johannesburg for having won the hotly contested tournament.

The Cape leg of the Cell C Tour of SA 2011 takes place over the weekend, and covers Gordon’s Bay, Grabouw, along the Theewaterskloof Dam, Franschhoek, the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, and finishes in Paarl, 120 cyclists participating in the race, reports the Cape Argus.

The J&B Met and the Cape Epic have an economic impact of R 200 million each, and the Two Oceans Marathon R223 million.  Mohamed has estimated that the city’s events and the film industry jointly add more than R 15 billion to the local economy. 

The benefit of these events reaches the hospitality industry too.  Six out of our 20 guests staying at Whale Cottage Camps Bay this past weekend flew down from Durban, to attend the U2 concert, and they made a three-day ‘weekend’ out of it.   Three of the U2 band members ate at Pierneef á La Motte last week, each visit widely reported (Bono and The Edge’s visit at La Motte even made the Sunday Times), which will attract more business to this wonderful Winelands wine estate.  Cargo Carriers has booked out Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the Argus Cycle Tour weekend, to accommodate its team over three days.   Delegates attending the Mining Indaba stayed at Whale Cottage Camps Bay too.

And a final note on the U2 concert – it was a ‘must attend’ concert, with amazing lighting effects on The Claw and the 360° screen ensured that every attendee saw the band on the relatively small stage, no matter where they were sitting or standing.  Many did not know most of the U2 music performed, but the performances of Amazing Grace, Stand by Me with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Without You were real crowd pleasers.  I did not pick up sound distortion, but read complaints about this on Twitter.  The quick and easy in and out of the stadium was commendable, and the event was run by Big Concerts without any hiccups, it was reported.   Replacing the Stadium pitch for the concert cost Big Concerts R803000 alone.  Taxis were in good supply before and after the concert, and the R50 per trip between Green Point and Fresnaye was the best money I have spent in a long time!  The long sit, from 7.30 – 11.30 pm, was the only off-putting part, as the seats are not the most comfortable.   Neil Diamond is the next big name performer at the Cape Town Stadium, his concert taking place on 11 April.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Green Point Park, which opened about two weeks ago, and which will receive its official blessing from the Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato today, has transformed the area previously known as the Green Point Common into one of the most charming parks in Cape Town, making it a treasure not only for the citizens of Cape Town, but also to its visitors, and to future generations.

The Green Point Common was previously a home for the homeless, and this brought down the tone of Mouille Point and also was a danger to locals walking in the area.  In conjunction with the construction of the new Cape Town Stadium, and the redevelopment of the Metropolitan golf course, the City of Cape Town redeveloped the 12,5 ha area at a reported cost of close to R600 million, renaming it the Green Point Park.   The conditions of the development of the Park were that it be safe, that the golf course and the Park appear integrated and almost seamless, that the Park be accessible to physically challenged citizens, and that sufficient parking be made available.  All of these conditions have been admirably met, so much so that one can feel proudly-Capetonian in how well our rates and taxes have been spent in developing a park with a heritage, that will be of benefit to future generations too.

The major focus, which makes it so interesting, and having an educational angle too, is the Biodiversity showcase, the gardens having been developed along ecological principles and includes indigenous landscaping.  Recycling is part of the showcase, and bins for waste, plastic, metal and glass are available at each of the Park entrances.   To focus on best environmental practices, water from the historic Oranjezicht springs on the slopes of Table Mountain has been redirected to water the gardens, and is sufficient to cater for the irrigation needs of the Park all year round, explains the Cape Town Stadium website www.stadiumcapetown.co.za

The Green Point Park has bricked pathways on which Capetonians and their children can cycle, walk with or without their dogs, run, do exercises, read a book, use their skateboards, and meet friends safely, with security staff visible.   One can also bring a picnic basket and enjoy the beautiful views onto Signal Hill, Cape Town Stadium, Mouille Point, and the golf course.  It is planned that one can host functions at the park (a marquee is already in place for the opening function today), and that outdoor events such as markets and concerts will be held in this beautiful, largely wind-protected space.   A biodiversity nursery, a tea garden, fresh produce markets, flower sellers and bicycle rental are said to be on the cards.

But the educational side of the Park is an excellent benefit for teaching children as well as their parents about Biodiversity, and how one can develop a garden that is environmentally friendly, and does not threaten biodiversity.  Biodiversity is defined as “amazing variety of life on earth”, and is threatened by agricultural development, fire, urban development and invasive plants. The Park has a food garden, one for medicinal plants, and a demonstration garden.  Fauna is represented by buck, rabbits, and more animals, in metalwork in-between the plants.  The Park teems with bird life.  Information boards explain how the Khoikhoi sought berries in the veld, used claypots to make their variation of “potjiekos” in those days already, roasted and baked their food, and made tea from bushes.  

But the history of Cape Town is also explained in an interesting manner, with huts built by the Khoikhoi, and their food types and herbal remedies explained.   Medicinal plants such as wildeals, blousake, kooigoed, Devil’s Claw and more were used to treat aches and pains, colds and other ailments. 

 It would be wonderful if a handout with information about the Green Point Park would be made available, and a website be developed for it.  I initially struggled to find the entrance to Green Point Park.  There are five entrances: the West entrance is close to CafeNeo, the East entrance is off one of the parking areas of the Cape Town Stadium, the Southern entrance is near the Virgin Active, an entrance is off Bay Road, and another is behind the Sea Point police station.   The Green Point Park is open from 7h00 – 19h00 Mondays – Sundays, and entrance is free.  

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The future of the Cape Town Stadium after its use for the World Cup is uncertain.   SAIL Stadefrance, the operators of the Stadium on behalf of the City of Cape Town, plans to host 18 events in the Stadium in 2011, but the nature of the events has not been declared, reports the People’s Post.

SAIL Stadefrance entered into an agreement with the City of Cape Town, to manage Cape Town Stadium, paying a rent of R1 (!!!) per annum, for a 30-year lease period.   The company must pass on 30 % of its revenue to the City; must pay R45000 in parking fees per event, for 3000 temporary parking bays around the Stadium; must invest R 10 million in capital improvements;  must pay for maintenance, cleaning, security, municipal rates and taxes, maintenance of the pitch; fit out 134 suites; responsible for security and cleansing of the Green Point Park.  

It has been confirmed that rugby will not move from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium, and that soccer will continue to be played at the Athlone Stadium after the World Cup.  Cape Town Stadium would be likely to be a “multipurpose venue” for events and concerts, and a “…a few international sporting events” are also hoped for.

The planned events will be a mixture of six “major” (35 000 – 55 000 spectators), six “medium-size” (25 000  – 35 000) and six “small” (5 000 – 25 000 spectators) events.  The nature of the events has not been announced.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com