Killarney track set to sign new lease with City

Mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism James Vos honoured women in motorsport at Killarney race track on Women’s Day, August 9

Western Province Motor Club is gearing up to sign a long-term lease with the City so it can continue managing the Killarney International Raceway, which, according to the club, ploughs more than R350 million into the local economy.

The recommendation to approve another lease must still be tabled at a full council meeting for a final decision tomorrow, Thursday August 18, but mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism James Vos said granting the lease would be a huge boost for economic growth and jobs in Cape Town.

On Tuesday August 9, Mr Vos visited the race track to celebrate Women’s Day and “women in motorsport”.

He said it was honour to show support to women who race and made racing possible.

“By firing on all cylinders, I believe that this new lease agreement gives Killarney the ability to do long-range planning and actively recruit key international motorsport events for the benefit of racing fans, the industry and Cape Town’s economy,” said Mr Vos.

Western Province Motor Club has been renting the property, which is the size of about 50 rugby fields, for the past 74 years. Earlier this year, it applied to renew the lease for a further 15 years (“Killarney track seeks new lease,” Tabletalk, March 2).

Tabletalk saw a 40-page lease application where various City departments approved renewing the lease but two objected because of an “illegal” soil berm along the western boundary of the property, which encroached on the Diep River floodplain.

According to the departments that objected, the berm sat on two gravity sewer lines and it could cause downstream flooding and liability to the City.

The water and sanitation department said it had no maintenance access to a 450mm water pipeline and a 600mm sewer pipeline on the property.

But in an email to Tabletalk last week, Mr Vos said the City had no objections to the renewal of the lease and had only received letters of support during the application’s public participation process.

He said the “illegal” soil berm at the site had its benefits and that the club would work jointly with the City to address concerns in practical ways.

Sunridge resident Rayben Moore, who raised concerns about noise and air pollution at the track in our previous article, said he “had no comment because it seemed as though the City had already made up their mind”.

Cheryl Kingsley, of Table View, said she supported the new lease because she feared the land would become an informal settlement.

In a statement, the Western Province Motor Club confirmed it was set to sign a long-term lease with the City.

Killarney International Raceway was the host of Grands Prix, world championships and 75 years of racing, it contributed R357 million to Cape Town’s economy and sustained thousands of jobs in the racing industry, said the statement.

The club did not respond to further questions sent to it last week.

Ward councillor Joy Solomon said she “enthusiastically supports the renewal of the lease”, as she did before when the application was served before sub council.

Mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism, James Vos watched the races at the Women’s Day event at Killarney race track last week