Our neighbourhoods are made up of buildings, houses, streets, businesses and public spaces. But it’s the people, cultures, traditions, monuments, activities and meaning that breathe life into our communities. These things form the heritage of our neighbourhoods.

A local ratepayer’s association in Cape Town is lobbying to preserve and conserve the heritage of a very special public space in their community.

The Green Point Ratepayer’s and Residents’ Association (GPPRA) has garnered the support of the City of Cape Town municipality to get the Green Point Common officially named as a Provincial Heritage Site.

They are now calling on surrounding communities and Cape Town residents to add their voice and support the preservation the public open space.

The Green Point Common, which includes the newly designed Green Point Urban Park, the Cape Town Stadium precinct and the surrounding sports fields, is a one of the most popular local attractions.

Families, runners, dog walkers and Cape Town residents revere this public space, which is regularly filled with life on any sunny day. It is one of the few diverse open spaces in a constantly bustling city.

The Green Point Common has great cultural, historical and social significance, a melting pot of heritage that inspired the Green Point Urban Park’s design.

In 1923, the Green Point Common was granted to the people of Cape Town as a public open space for sporting activities, public gatherings, parades and recreation.

According to the GPPRA, the City of Cape Town undertook to nominate portions of the Common as Provincial Heritage Site in 2015 but did not follow through.

The GPRRA has since been working hard to make this a reality. They enlisted the help of experts to compile a comprehensive report on the Green Point Common and presented it to Heritage Western Cape (HWC).

“A supplementary report was then developed in collaboration with heritage officials in the City of Cape Town that clearly expressed the historic and heritage values of this unique urban cultural landscape. The outcome was that the very persuasive proposal was supported and enthusiastically endorsed by civic and heritage groups and, most importantly, HWC.”

So what would it mean if the Green Point Common was declared a heritage site?

Provincial Heritage Sites are places that are of cultural and historical importance. These sites are protected under the National Heritage Resources Acts and are administered by the provincial heritage council.

The provincial heritage Council, Heritage Western Cape, is mandated to promote cooperative governance between national, provincial and local authorities for the conservation and management of these heritage sites.

The administration of land by the HWC protects heritage sites from being exploited for development and other uses that would contradict its cultural integrity.

Some heritage sites in South Africa include Robben Island, The Voortrekker Monument and the Union Buildings.

The Green Point Ratepayer’s and Residents’ Association is determined to get the Green Point Common on the list of heritage sites.

And while both the City of Cape Town and the provincial heritage council agree that the Common should be receive heritage status, the next hurdle for the association is to agree on the boundary of the protected area.

“Our preferred option was based on the historic boundary of the area granted to the people of Cape Town in 1923, between Bay Road and Main Road.”

The City of Cape Town, however, had proposed only the park and selected sports facilities should be included, but not the stadia or tennis precinct.

“The joint proposal by GPRRA and the City heritage officials suggested Option C, which includes most of the core historic precinct between Bay Road and Helen Suzman Boulevard and the stadia. This boundary is supported by HWC.”

The GPPRA now urges all citizens to support the nomination to make this area a heritage site.

“Make your opinion known during the public participation process by writing/emailing before the deadline of 1 September. Your letter should preferably be signed and scanned and sent as an attachment to an email. If you need further guidance, please call or email.

It is crucial that you join us in protecting and preserving this public open space for the future.”

For further information contact: Jenny McQueen, Chairperson, GPRRA Tel 021 439 5063/Cell 082 579 9125 Email [email protected]

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