Green light for new Killarney lease

A bird’s eye view of the Killarney International Raceway.

The city council has approved the extension of the Killarney International Raceway’s lease.

Mayoral committee member for economic growth James Vos has welcomed the decision taken at the Thursday August 18 meeting.

The current lease expires at the end of the year.

The Western Province Motor Club has held the lease on the property, which is about the size of 50 rugby fields, for 74 years. It applied to lease the site for a further 15 years.

“Our strategic approach, where we actively seek to facilitate under-utilised public assets for hospitality, business and community use, will gain huge momentum through today’s council endorsement,” Mr Vos said.

The track was the most used multi-purpose event venue in the city, with a total of 200 events held there annually before the pandemic, he said, adding that 70 of those events had been dedicated to charity and worthy causes.

Though details of the lease were not immediately available, Tabletalk recently saw a 40-page document in which various City departments pre-approved renewing the contract with the Western Province Motor Club. Two departments had objected, citing an “illegal” soil berm on the western boundary. This berm encroaches on the Diep River floodplain (“Killarney track set to sign new lease with City,” Tabletalk, August 17).

The objecting departments said the berm’s position on two gravity sewer lines created a risk of downstream flooding and liability for the City.

The water and sanitation department said it did not have maintenance access to a 450mm water pipeline and a 600mm sewer pipeline on the Killarney property.

However, in a recent response to Tabletalk, Mr Vos said the City had no objection to renewing the lease and he had received letters of support during the public participation process.

He said the “illegal” soil berm had benefits and the club would work with the City to find practical solutions.

Killarney International Raceway has hosted the Grands Prix and world championships, and, according to Mr Vos, it contributes more than R350m to the City’s economy, draws tourism and investment and supports a range of industries.

“Our mission as a City is to unlock economic growth opportunities that will allow businesses to flourish and jobs to be created. Transactions such as these help us to realise just that,” he said.

Killarney spokesperson Dave Abrahams did not respond to questions by time of going to print.