Ire as park closed for concert

Ratepayers groups fear the City’s decision to override their objections to the staging of a rock concert in part of the Green Point Urban Park could set a worrying precedent.

Both the Green Point Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (GPRRA) and the Mouille Point Ratepayers’ Association (MPRA) objected to American rock group The Lumineers performing in the park on Wednesday April 26.

However, the City says several alternative venues were considered but found to be unsuitable.

GPRRA chairwoman Jenny McQueen said the association’s events committee had been trying since September last year to persuade the City to move the concert to the Cape Town Stadium, but their objections had been overruled “with no reasons given”.

They had wanted the concert held at the stadium to prevent excessive noise in the neighbourhood and stop throngs of concert goers “tramping over” the eco park.

“It has become such an attraction that we would hate to see it damaged, it is one of the best things to happen to Green Point as part of the stadium,” she said.

Paige Nick, of the association’s events committee, believes the concert could have gone ahead at several other venues – including Green Point Athletics Stadium, the Cape Town Stadium and the Grand Parade – which would have had far less impact on residents as well as visitors to the city.

“This event means that part of the park is closed off to the public for at least five days impacting all families, park runners, residents and other visitors. It goes against the entire point of the park to hold an event like this there, especially when there are adjacent venues geared up for this kind of thing.

“We really like having concerts and events in our area; it drives tourism, boosts the economy and adds colour to our amazing hood. But when the City and event planners blatantly ignore our noise mitigation guidelines, our event guidelines and our objections – because we know our area – you can kiss your leisurely free and peaceful Sunday walk in the park goodbye.”

Jane Meyer, of the MPRA, agreed that the park was unsuitable for a rock concert. “The Urban Park is a ‘green’ and eco-friendly space and our opinion is that loud, noisy concerts have no place there. There are other venues more suited to these kinds of events.”

The MPRA had suggested Kirstenbosch, the Green Point Athletics Stadium and Cape Town Stadium as alternative venues.

Ms Meyer added: “All we request from the City events department is that they look at each event and assess it for suitability for the venue they have selected. They should have immediately seen that this kind of loud event would not have been suited to the Reddam Field in the Urban Park and they should have suggested other viable alternatives. The fact that the MPRA, GPRRA and various City departments flagged this event at this location as problematic should have held water with the events department.”

Stuart Diamond, mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, said small concerts were permitted for the site “as long as there is compliance with all other event-related legislation”.

The concert, he said, had required a small intimate setting and not a large-scale stadium setting.

“The event was pegged at 12 500 persons which is within the permissible number of people which can gather in this space,” he said.

The City had considered noise levels, mitigating factors and stakeholders’ recommendations before approving the venue.

Mr Diamond said the rest of the Green Point Urban Park had remained open for public use.

“Furthermore, the space that was rented by the event organiser has always been earmarked as an events space, and, as such, was part of the City’s public participation process before council approved the City’s tariff.

“The event area was confined to the least utilised part of the park. The build-up to the event involved the use of heavy and moving machinery, thus the area surrounding the event site was temporarily fenced off from general use.”

Mr Diamond said that Cape Town Stadium had hosted the Kaizer Chiefs match for 20 000 people on April 25. Other venues considered, he said, had been Kirstenbosch, which was deemed too small; Newlands cricket grounds, set to undergo major construction; and GrandWest’s Grand Arena, which was not available.