Call for track record

Eddie Andrews.

Mitchell’s Plain councillors remained steadfast in their quest for a progress report on the building of an athletics track, which they asked for almost three years ago.

Eddie Andrews, ward councillor for Ward 78 and former mayoral committee member for area south, submitted a motion for an athletics track on March 17 2016. Danny Christians, ward councillor for Ward 81, had supported the motion and had been privy to proposed site visits, including Stephen Reagon sports field in Westridge, and JQ Sportsfield and JP Rugby field, both in Rocklands.

On Thursday November 22, City of Cape Town area south manager for sport and recreation, Alexander Dykes, said professional consultants could only tender to do a city-wide feasibility study on whether and where in Cape Town another athletics track should be build in March next year.

Mr Dykes was due to provide a summary report to investigate the feasibility and costing.

He said the sport and recreation directorate had decided that a detailed plan was required to determine the feasibility of a track not just in Mitchell’s Plain but for the entire city.

The study is to produce a report as to where there are athletics tracks, whether they are sufficient and possible repairs and maintenance of an athletics track.

Mr Dykes said detailed planning was required for the construction of a facility, with an estimated budget of close to R20 million.

DA proportional representative (PR) councillor Thulani Dasa asked whether the directorate saw the urgency of the matter.

Mr Christians asked whether it was a Mitchell’s Plain or city-wide study.

“The study would be better funded if it was city-wide but we are propagating for the people of Mitchell’s Plain – 1.3 million people sitting without such a facility is disastrous,” he said.

Mr Dykes clarified that it would be a city-wide study.

Mr Christians said that he did not want to show his frustrations but that the sub-council manager had to stop the process from advancing beyond the boundaries of Mitchell’s Plain.

“I take exception to this – when the City wants to develop certain areas like the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre), they can find R557million but they can’t find a cent for the development of our athletics track or further coastal development,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the report would come in handy when seeking funding and to inform a discussion on the possible construction of a stadium.

“The need for a stadium was started here and now, once it goes to tender it will be three years later,” he said.

Annelize van Zyl, DA PR councillor, said councillors were frustrated because the matter was on the agenda for a report after the directorate’s Project Management Office (PMO) planning unit had advertised for a consultant to investigate the feasibility last month already.

A consultant was appointed but due to various technicalities around the contract expiry date a new process will have to start next year.

During initial discussions in February last year on where the track should be, Mr Andrews suggested it be at Stephen Reagon sports field in Westridge.

Mr Christians proposed JQ Sportsground, which Ward 79 councillor Solomon Philander supported because aerial maps showed there was a track there previously, that the City owned the land and they had to ensure there was budget to restore the facility.

Councillors and officials visited the site. The rugby field next door was also considered as it had existing infrastructure such as floodlights and a proposal would include funding for the upgrade of the floodlights, an Astro turf and seating.

Sub-council was of the view that Mitchell’s Plain should have its own athletics track due to the distance that the schools have to travel to get to other venues for competitions.

“However, there is no budget allocated or any plan in place to cater to this need,” read the minutes.

On June 22 2016 it was noted that the sport and recreation directorate could not source funding and that the ward councillor would have to.

The councillors’ determination on pro-
gress on the athletics track followed a Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) meeting on Saturday November 17, where civics groups plotted a vision for the community, which included the need for better sports facilities, specifically an athletics track (“Plan to get ‘Plain to take off”, Plainsman November 21).