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Friday, 25 April 2014

Atlantic Sun 24 April 2014 - Land debate rolls on

Land debate rolls on

by Matthew Hirsch
published in the Atlantic 24 April 2014

The Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) have encouraged the Camps Bay Preparatory School and the Bowling Club to go back to the negotiating table to find a solution that benefits both parties.

The CBRRA said it has been attempting to broker a sustainable deal between the club and the school since 2011 and they believe a solution has been found. 

The school has applied for land being used by the bowling club to expand to accommodate the demand for places at the school.

"This will involve a partitioned land option, resulting in the school taking over the current parking area and a sizeable portion of the existing building structure – totalling over 1000m2, which is enough for the required classroom and play area expansion. The club will retain its two bowling greens and the current hall," said CBRRA.

The plan envisages a strong division between the two entities so to ensure compliance with all aspects of the SA Schools Act, particularly those aspects relating to liquor sales and consumption.

The current school building shares a common boundary with a building that has an on-consumption liquor licence and also houses a nightclub, so this does not set any precedent.

"The CBRRA plan accommodates both the school in its proposed expansion and the bowling club in its continued existence – creating a synergy between the young and not so young members of the community, whilst protecting the precious public open space and "green lung" that belongs to all citizens of this city," said the CBRRA.

Matthew Bater, president of the Camps Bay Bowling Club, said they were willing to negotiate and that the ratepayers' plan was not taken into account by all role-players. 

"I don't think everything has been looked at correctly. We were trying to find a solution."

He also said that the club is still well attended.

"We are not a dying club as many people have said. The last four and a half years have not made it easy but we have gained members," said Mr Bater.

He said the bowling club's first team had just been promoted into the premiership, the highest league in the province. 

"Those are not the efforts of a dying club. We have 60 competitive bowlers (excluding social bowlers) that meet two to three times a week. The club is used a lot."

Mr Bater also said activities such as karate, bridge, and ballroom dancing also took place on a regular basis. 

"Education is important but there is a balance and we can find a solution. Everything needs to be looked at including older members of the community."

He said some of the recent attacks on the club are unfair and made it more difficult to come up with an agreement.

"Why can't we (the school and the club) live together for a longer period of time? We can work with the community," said Mr Bater.

David De Korte, principal of the Camps Bay High School, said he first became involved in the negotiations four years ago.

He said a group of concerned parents took the issue up with the council.

He said they would be willing to sit down with the bowling club if they came forward with a formalised plan.  "All three principals (of the Camps Bay Schools) would have to discuss it. Come with a plan and let's talk."

He said there was a high demand for places in the school for children living in the area. "The problem is that there is no space. The demographics of the area have changed and there are a lot of young families here. Every year the Prep School has to tell parents on the waiting list they they weren't going to get a place."

Mr De Korte said it would be ideal if they could find a solution that would benefit the whole community.

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