Green Point Common one step closer to heritage site

The Green Point Common is visited by thousands of people each year.

Green Point Common is one step closer to being declared a provincial heritage site, with Heritage Western Cape expected to meet with the City of Cape Town and the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (GPRRA) this week.

The matter was discussed at the ratepayers’ association annual general meeting, which took place last week.

The site, say residents, is hugely significant, not just to the area but to the city as a whole and should therefore be protected.

Thousands of residents and tourists visit the common every year. Included on the original Green Point Common are highly significant provincial heritage sites such as Fort Wynyard, and the old Race Course Stand (McDonalds), New Somerset Hospital, Green Point Lighthouse, and more recently, the A-Track.

Residents are now hopeful following a meeting that took place with Heritage Western Cape last year (“No common ground”, Atlantic Sun, May 19 2016).

The nomination of the common as heritage site was an initiative of the GPRRA and Dr Antonia Malan undertook to make the application pro bono on behalf of the organisation.

Jenny McQueen, chairwoman of the GPRRA, told the Atlantic Sun that the matter was an extremely important one for the area. The Green Point Urban Park, which forms part of the common, she described as “the best thing that came out of the stadium”.

“It draws thousands and thousands of people from all over the peninsula to enjoy the surroundings of the beautiful scenic park with play facilities for children.

“It is safe and secure and free to all. We need as much support as possible, to take in what we can so that it covers as much of what was granted to the people of Cape Town.”

She said making the common a provincial heritage site was something that should have been done years ago as it was of huge significance to all Capetonians.

“After the meeting with Heritage Western Cape, a public participation process is the next step.

“We are encouraged and positive that our common can be protected and preserved for the future. Residents of Cape Town can make a contribution during the public participation process in June.”

Dr Malan, who was at the meeting last week, said it was vitally important that the public get involved and make their voices heard on the matter.

She said that the GPRRA had conducted research, prepared an extensive dossier and made the official nomination to Heritage Western Cape (HWC). “The GPRRA motivated for a much more inclusive boundary, just excluding the tail of the erf. It wants overall responsibility for heritage management to be with HWC,” she said.

She said that the nomination had been submitted by the GPRRA to HWC in January 2016, with support from local civic organisations and the District Six Museum.

Heritage officials from the City helped to develop the nomination. “Everyone is invited to support the nomination, make comments, and in particular to insist on declaring as large a protected area as is possible.

“Most of the common is fenced off from the public – for stadia and private sports clubs. The GPRRA can imagine a common without the impractical Cape Town Stadium and with more flexible sports and recreation facilities, that reverts back to its role of providing open space for public use and enjoyment, with pedestrian links to surrounding areas and the coast. We remain encouraged and positive that our common can be protected and preserved for the future,” added Dr Malan.

The meeting with HWC was scheduled to take place yesterday, Wednesday May 31, and the City of Cape Town, the property owners, were also expected to be at the meeting.

After the meeting, the nomination was expected go out for public comment.