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Hout Bay Sentinel: More facts emerge

29 Jul 2009
Further facts have recently come to the surface regarding the future of Hout Bay's iconic Sentinel mountain.

The present owners had planned to sell it off, but their auction, in the Chapman's Peak Hotel, was disrupted by protestors from the Hangberg community. Now it has been revealed that there is a 60,000sqm piece of land on the Sentinel which lies between the plot to be auctioned and the Hangberg community below it.

His was privately owned until recently, when Gerald Romanovsky of Greeff Properties' Hout Bay branch concluded the sale of this land to the Parks Board for R800k.

This means the plot to be auctioned (the upper half of the Sentinel) is now surrounded on all sides by Parks Board owned land, effectively cutting it off from an access road. The Parks Board has already stated they will not grant an access road over their land under any circumstances.

The owner of the 60,000sqm sold it because he felt it was his social responsibility to do so, the Hangberg community having said that they did not want development of any kind on the Sentinel. Originally, said Romanovsky, there had been a plan to develop low- and middle-income housing on the site, which would have been accessed by a road through the Hangberg.

"Any buyer of the upper part of the Sentinel would now be able to use it only for hiking and similar pursuits," said Romanovsky.

"Without an access road it is inevitable that it will eventually end up in the hands of the Parks Board, as it now has no real intrinsic value."

Inhabitants of the Harbour Village and the Hangberg, said Romanovsky, are often uninformed about the future of their precinct. Right now, he said, they are panicked by rumours that their entire village could be sold off for development.

"The local authorities must do something fast to defuse the situation, allay any fears and prevent any further rumour mongering that may develop in the future," said Romanovsky.

Misinformation about the sale of the Sentinel has led to suspicions that the whole area is under threat and the consequent unrest could lead to "unfounded and completely negative perceptions" about what lies ahead for the Hangberg village.

Romanovsky said that the Parks Board could expropriate the property but this would lead to expensive, drawn-out litigation. Ideally, he said, the owners should now sell to the Parks Board for a realistic price determined by an independent Qualified Valuer.

For more information contact Gerald Romanovsky on 021 790 8983 or send an email.

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