Missing characters in City management?

From the Cape Argus, by Monique Duval
, 4th February 2013

Long Street is the centre of Cape Town’s nightlife but noise issues are turning nightclub and hotel owners against each other. At a meeting hosted at the Pepper Club hotel this week to discuss noise in the Long Street area, Bettie Leedo from the city’s Health Department said they were looking at a new by-law to counter problems faced by the municipality in licensing nightclubs under the Business Act.

The meeting, attended by city officials, the Western Cape Liquor Authority, property developers, residents and nightclub owners, erupted in heated debate over the noise, with some bar owners accusing developers of not researching the area before building hotels. But developers and property owners hit back, saying many of them had spent millions investing in the area and were not prepared to sit back and let their investments slide.

Lawyer Derek Wille, who represents the Pepper Club, said his client was losing millions of rand as guests often checked out or demanded refunds as they could not get sleep over weekends. Leedo said under the Business Act the city could not close clubs that traded without the necessary licences and instead took legal action through the municipal courts. “This is a lengthy process. In one instance the city started legal proceedings against a nightclub in December 2011. The case has been postponed five times.

Since 2009, the city has received an increase in noise complaints from the Long Street area. We sought legal opinion on whether the municipality could write its own by-law pertaining to business licences and we’ve recently received feedback.” Good Hope sub-council chairman Taki Amira said the issues in Long Street were a result of the “retro-fitting of nightclubs into old buildings”. He said that a brief haul been sent to the mayor’s office for a new by-law and said the first draft was expected to be completed at the end of this month.

Byron Qually, convener of the Long Street Residents’ Association said: “The city has a comprehensive break-down on the effects of noise pollution ranging from health and work performance and behaviour. While these points are valid, they provide negligible documentation on how property investments are losing value due to an area being considered uninhabitable. Mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa James confirmed the City would be proposing a new by-law but said it was difficult to put a time frame on the process as it required public participation.

Copyright Cape Argus Newspaper

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