Quarry development discussions resume

The quarry is occupied by homeless people but the space is quite vast.

The proposed development of the quarry in Bo-Kaap, just off Strand Street, was addressed by City officials and Bo-Kaap residents at a meeting last Wednesday.

According to their invitation, the City has started the process of developing a conceptual vision for the approximately four-hectare quarry, which they anticipate will be a community sporting area with heritage and tourist amenities.

“The proposal is to develop the Strand Street quarry as a community sports and recreation facility with infrastructure that supports tourism and employment opportunities,” said Eddie Andrews, the City’s deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment.

“The City hosted the meeting to engage interested and affected stakeholders to share information on the status quo, and to identify needs, challenges, and opportunities,” he said.

A cable car has been proposed, and Mr Andrews verified that a study was conducted by the South African National Parks Board’s Table Mountain National Park on this subject.

“The Park Management Plan 2015-2025 refers to a study to improve visitor access with a possible mechanical ‘People Mover’ link from Strand Street Quarry via the Lion Battery to the Signal Hill summit with an onward shuttle bus service to the lower cable station,” he said.

Osman Shaboodien, chairman of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, says that the quarry is a neglected space.

“The City over the years half-heartedly supported the upgrade of the then open public space despite numerous proposals from the Bo-Kaap community. We are cautiously optimistic that this time we will be taken seriously,” Mr Shaboodien said.

He adds that the quarry planning process has resumed, but he urges the City to act quickly.

“The quarry cannot be seen in isolation to the rest of the surrounding open spaces or buildings for the project to become sustainable and successful. So, the need for sustainable employment, temporary housing projects needs to be realised to benefit the people of the Bo-Kaap,” he said.

According to Ilyas Salie of the Bo-Kaap Tourism Association, the aim should be to create a tourist hub that employs locals.

“Tourism activities should be based on the people and not just the colourful houses. If you look at other townships they have community activities that the tourists can enjoy and they get to know a little bit of the people,” Mr Salie said.

“This should be a space where former residents can come and reflect and enjoy what the Bo-Kaap means to them,” he said.

Bilqees Baker says she would like to see a multifunctional space for sports codes, but she also believes that non-athletes should be included.

“I’d like to see that those who cook food and craftsmen and women can sell their goods here. This space could be used for skills development, maybe an office for meetings as you know the Bo-Kaap doesn’t have a lot of space,” said Ms Baker.

“There’s so much red tape to use the Schotschekloof civic centre and people are often disappointed, so this space (quarry) should be utilised by us. But for me it should be used for sports as there are spin-offs to sporting events,” she said.

Hardie Dollie says when he was a child, the quarry was a park where people gathered to socialise.

“This was a playground for us when I was a young boy. I’m 73 now so this is a long time ago. We used to play sports here and I’d like to see that return. They (City) must develop it because they have the finances and expertise to turn it into anything they want but it must be beneficial for the people of this area.”

Mr Andrews says the City’s intention is to facilitate and to enable associated statutory processes, including environmental, heritage, rezoning and subdivision, for the development of the site.

“The scope of the project is to develop a shared vision for the Strand Street Quarry that enables investment and associated employment opportunities both during and after construction, including for local residents,” Mr Andrews said.

A map of the quarry and notes on what to do with it.