Sport and recreation has always played a fundamental part of any community. With this in mind, the City of Cape Town is committed to providing world class, safe areas where members of the community can gather to have picnics or run races.
The Green Point Common has always been a central gathering place, not only for the Atlantic Seaboard community, but also for schools and sports clubs across the peninsula. In 2008, the MEC for Environment Planning and Economic Development approved the Green Point Urban Park Landscape Master Plan, outlining the reconfiguration and upgrade of the common.
The plan was implemented in two phases. Phase 1 involved works done before the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and Phase 2 involved works done after the tournament. The Cape Town Stadium (Phase 1) remains an iconic building and the primary structuring element within the Urban Park.
However, the park would also accommodate various sporting and recreational facilities, many of which have a legacy of being conducted on the common for decades. These include cricket, tennis, bowls and athletics.
The old Green Point Stadium, which was partially demolished at the start of Phase 1 works, was identified to be upgraded to accommodate, primarily, athletics and would form part of the Phase 2 works programme.
As stated in the Record of Decision (ROD), the reconstructed Green Point Athletics Stadium must provide for athletics facilities and a soccer field within the track to be used for practice purposes.
A concept design for the new stadium was developed, aimed at retaining the remaining stands of the old stadium and preserving the sentiments and history associated with it. A new and improved track, with every memory still intact. The 3 500 seats that remain of the old stadium are being upgraded to a 5 000 seat, state-of-the-art athletics facility, which is expandable to 7000 seats for special events.
The architects have refined the incomplete half-moon shape of the remaining stands with a hi-tech steel roof and have added a notional head and tail to create a streamlined, futuristic border around the new track, and the aesthetic beauty inherent in the design emphasises and complements the Cape Town Stadium.
The new facility has been designed to accommodate people with disabilities and is serviced by a parking forecourt with 396 bays. Lighting will only be provided for practice purposes and not for televised or major night time events, in compliance with the Record of Decision (ROD).
The design process included a broad consultation phase with a wide spectrum of the public, including Western Province Athletics, who provided valuable operational insights that, amongst others, ensures that the new facility meets the technical standards set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Construction on the new facility began in January 2012 and are scheduled for completion by the end of February 2013, costing approximately R81 million.
“This is just one more indication of our commitment to making Cape Town a world-class destination for any kind of sport. We have the facilities and the willingness to ensure that they are the best you can get in the field. It will also help consolidate the Green Point Urban Park as a Metropolitan area that offers a variety of recreational and sporting facilities,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada.
The timing of this construction coincides with the closing of the Bellville Velodrome for re-development in October 2012, a process that could take up to five years and will leave the athletics community without this valuable resource. However, until the completion of the Green Point Athletics Stadium, the community can utilise the facilities at the Parow Stadium and the centre in Blue Downs.
Upon completion, the Green Point Athletics Stadium will prove to be a hub for athletics activities in the Western Cape.
The facility will be used in 2013 to accommodate the Western Province Athletics Championships (including the senior and WP Schools/junior championships) and possibly the SA Athletics Championships in April 2013.
The CPUT Athletics Club, previously accommodated in the old stadium, will have a brand new home and access to IAAF facilities. These will also be available for the many school and club meets that have been taking place in Green Point for many, many years.
The facility could accommodate both national and international athletics events and it is likely the facility will be optimally utilised throughout the year, with the possibility of over-utilisation that will have to be carefully managed.
“The Green Point Athletics Stadium stands to become the centre of athletics throughout the Western Cape, allowing the establishment of clubs and creating a safe and enjoyable environment within our communities where children can run, parents can cheer and people can express their love for all things track and field. With this, we are preserving the memories of many years and making memories for many years to come,” said Cllr Gqada.