KwaDukuza council wants Lions out for hall ‘upgrade’ at Townsend Park

Despite objections by the community and ratepayers association, the municipality has again got its eye on the green lung of Townsend Park.

Earlier this month it became clear that the municipality was planning to build a large community hall in the middle of the park.

The result was outrage from the surrounding residents and numerous community members who use the park regularly (“Battle lines drawn at Townsend Park“, Courier, May 10).

The municipality has not been forthcoming with the plans for the community hall.

However a special municipal exco meeting is being called by the department of corporate governance for May 30, when council is to be asked for approval to upgrade the

Scout hall in Townsend Park, currently used by the Lions club.

Project director and incoming president of the Lions Club Paul Naidoo said they had not heard anything directly but, “The Lions have a lease for 30 years and I was surprised to hear the plans for the hall.”

Naidoo said they have used the hall, have attended to its upkeep and, “have had a close relationship with the municipality and play an active role in drawing tourists to the area with our fundraising functions.”

The hall is hired out for private functions and can only hold about 100 people.

Ward six cllr Colin Marsh said “People are crying foul due to the lack of public participation and council should rather establish a more suitable site.”

Dolphin Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association (Docrra) contacted the council on May 27 to remind them that the Docrra community has “made it clear in the strongest possible terms that a community hall as proposed by the council, is not required in the area.”

Docrra chairman Louis Luyt said the proposed upgrade of the community hall at Townsend Park would effectively evict the Lions Club.

“We have provided our objection in writing together with a petition from the community emphasizing the categorical resistance and objection to this facility.”

“KDM is forcing the issue through council without due and proper consultation at community and ward level.

This is contrary to municipal and due process requirements and contrary to the community’s wishes that has emphasized its categorical resistance and objection in a signed petition,” said Luyt.

He goes on to say it is clear that KDM ignores the community’s needs and requirements and prefers to use bullying and unilateral actions to serve its own agenda.

When the matter was raised at the Docrra AGM on April 20 the community expressly demanded that the whole issue be revisited.

The lack of concern about the wants and needs of the people is borne out by the fact that Doccra has not even received a reply to our previous correspondence
on this issue, said Luyt.

He said that Docrra urges council to “take steps to rescind the item and proposed Exco decision as a matter of urgency or Docrra will have no alternative but to seek alternative relief to resolve the issue”.

The land is zoned for education and is owned by the state.

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