Steps are under way to incorporate the Bellville Velodrome, the only Olympic-standard indoor cycling facility in the country, into an extensive new commercial development.
Abdul Davids, chairperson of the facility management committee of the Velodrome, has undertaken to ensure that the cycling fraternity’s right to use the facility will not be adversely affected, even if that means a legal challenge.
The public has until August 14 to comment and make representations.
The City of Cape Town recently released a public notice on the granting of rights for the use, control or lease and sale of council-owned property in the area, which includes the Bellville Velodrome.
The affected properties include the velodrome, Bellville athletic stadium and air rights over Mispel Road.
The portion to be transferred is unregistered Erf 40819 in Bellville, which includes undeveloped land and a parking area around the above-mentioned municipal facilities.
According to the City administration statement, said mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos, the objective is to leverage City assets through rationalisation and optimisation to stimulate economic development and growth.
Prior to the granting of rights or the transfer of municipal assets, the City must comply with the requirements of the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations (MATR). This entails the need to advertise, a public participation process, an in-principle approval and final council approval.
This project was initiated by the City with calls for tenders in September 2007. The tender provided the opportunity to purchase and develop vacant municipal land conditional on the improvement and management of existing City-owned facilities on the property.
Vos confirmed that the public had the opportunity to comment and make representations to the City until August 14. All comments will be addressed in a final recommendation report to be submitted to the council.
Davids has been involved at the facility since the mid-1990s and was also a member of the Bellville Cycling Club at that stage.
“When the tender was granted to the developer, I was there.
“So, essentially the City has three existing lease agreements in place – with the Bellville and Tygerberg cycling clubs as well as WP Athletics. These agreements terminate in 2023.
“Naturally when the tender was granted without the City first consulting its existing leaseholders it caused upset amongst us.”
Davids was also at a public participation meeting two weeks ago at the velodrome.
“My question to the panel present from the city was simple – why was this meeting not held prior to the granting of the tender in 2009?”
He added that the sporting public should not be too concerned about possibly losing the facility as they had sought legal opinion regarding the validity of the existing lease agreements and the consensus was that the City had erred.
“The City is in for a huge surprise as we’ll be approaching the courts to seek relief by forcing it to honour its existing contracts with the various sporting bodies.
“So, the sporting public should not refrain from making use of this facility as that’s exactly what the City wants. They’ll then turn around and say that the facility is underutilised.”
Davids said he did not wish to pre-empt changes at this stage. They would first need to secure the facility and then sit down with the City to renegotiate a way forward that would be beneficial to all parties.
“In the interim, the velodrome FMC have partnered with legal firm Minde Shapiro and Smith to assist us in negotiating the best deal possible for all sporting codes using the facility.”
The velodrome, which was opened in 1997, hosted the World Cycling Federation Championships in 1999, the UCI “B” World Championships in 2007 and the UCI Junior World Championships in 2008.