Residents of Bunkers Hill and surrounding suburbs have opted to take the legal route to deal with loud music and noise emanating from the Philip Kahts softball stadium.
Hundreds of petition signatures were gathered after the stadium hosted a variety of celebratory events and became a late night music lounge.
Bunkers Hill resident Linda Warner on Monday night led a meeting in the street lit by the orange glow of streetlights beneath a canopy of bluegum trees outside the Glen Eagles Road stadium.
About 70 residents attended the gathering which was also attended by Ground X Music Lounge operator Luthando Bara and DA ward councillor Isabel Thompson.
Residents and business owners complained of excessive noise as well as early morning disturbances when patrons left the facility including “hooting, shouting and loud boomboxes”.
Bara said he had been approached by the Buffalo City Softball Association to “revive” what was once the Dug-out Bar and had opened the Ground X Music Lounge in its place.
He said he had no connection to events like the recent University of Fort Hare centenary celebrations and the Africa Day event which blasted the suburbs with an ear-popping din.
Bara said the liquor licence permitted him to operate until 2am but that he was prepared to “take up” any issues regarding liquor act transgressions.
Eastern Cape Softball Association (ECSA) chairman Bongani Masika did not attend the meeting, but yesterday told the Daily Dispatch he would meet Warner last night. BCM spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said last week that the Eastern Cape Softball Association leased the stadium from the municipality, but was not sub-letting to Ground X.
“ECSA and Ground X are in agreement for Ground X to host events there so that the facility can generate income and softball can meet its costs.”
Cindi said the liquor licence belonged to the ECSA and was the same one used by the “previous owners”.
Referring to residents’ complaints, Cindi said the municipality would “make an appeal to Ground X to stick within the law as set out in our municipal bylaws” but was happy with the size of its parking area.
Warner said she had been unable to verify the exact nature of the liquor licence because the Eastern Cape Liquor Board was moving premises.
Bunker’s Inn Guesthouse co-owner Brett Armstrong said the up-market establishment’s windows “vibrated” when sound levels at the stadium were loud. “Cars also drive like maniacs on the street early in the morning. Guests have complained, saying the area was so tranquil before.
“Unfortunately I will have no recourse if I lose guests. There is no question in my mind that we should go the legal route.”
Fuming Seasons Find Guest Lodge owner Clint van der Westhuizen said: “This place has to be shut down. It has no respect for rules or neighbours. We are all making money in Bunker’s Hill, but there are rules.”
Gleneagles Road resident Mike Rivarola said the facility was not a sports club but a nightclub.
“If it is not zoned [for a nightclub] then it is an illegal activity and law enforcement needs to close it down.”