Disquiet over R3bn Menlyn casino plan

In a follow up to yesterday's post.

Disquiet over R3bn Menlyn casino plan

There is no official approval for a casino at Menlyn - at least not yet. Although Sun International has announced in newspaper adverts detailed plans for a R3 billion entertainment complex called Time Square at Menlyn Maine - including a casino bigger than the gaming area at Montecasino - a full council meeting still has to debate it.

Residents of the surrounding suburbs yesterday expressed disquiet at the idea of a casino in their midst, especially because of its proximity to schools, retirement centres and places of worship.

However, the biggest concern seems to be an increase in traffic such a complex would mean to the Waterkloof Glen, Constantia Park, Garsfontein and Faerie Glen areas, and the fact that residents have not been consulted.

The site is at the intersection of Corobay and Aramist streets, behind the Glen High School and opposite the CTI Pretoria campus and Menlyn Corporate Park. It is part of the mixed-use Menlyn Maine development.

The Tshwane Metro Council agreed to remove certain restrictions in terms of which the site, which was initially zoned for residential development, could be used for business, in particular a place of entertainment, according to city planning MMC Subesh Pillay.

The council is in recess, but DA councillor Professor Duncan Baker said he would raise the matter at the next council meeting later this month. While there is some concern, the development has been punted as being good for the local economy, providing jobs and promoting tourism.

Sun International wants to have its casino licence transferred from the Morula casino north of the city to Menlyn Maine in a R3bn entertainment complex development. The casino will have 3 000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables - making it bigger than the casino at Montecasino or Emperor's Palace. If the licence is granted, the development could be completed within three years.

Pillay said the Menlyn Maine development, which includes corporate offices, shops and restaurants, a residential component and a gym, had originally been approved in terms of the Menlyn Node Spatial Development Framework.

In February a subsequent application was received from the developers for removal of certain restrictive conditions. This was considered and the rezoning was granted to allow for a place of entertainment, including a hotel.

'It should, however, be noted that approval by the city does not mean approval of casino operations but merely enables the developer and casino operator to apply to the Gauteng Gambling Board for licensing of casino operations,' he said.

In this instance, that was the relocation of an existing licence from Morula Sun to the proposed new site.

Margot Chamberlain, a member of the Brooklyn Conservation Association, said the possibility of a casino had not been mentioned until now, and she said it was not suitable for a residential area. 'It is already heavily congested in the area. The infrastructure cannot support such a development,' she said.

However, Piet du Toit, chief executive of the Tshwane Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the development would be good for business in the area.

He said the target market of Morula come from Pretoria East, and the move to the business hub of the east would be a good one. 'Sun International must have done their research if they are confident to invest R3bn and the chamber supports the development,' he said.

There are at least five churches in the area, including the Hatfield Christian Church, The Glen Methodist Church and the Pretoria Wesleyan Church.

Rath Wilson, manager of the retirement centre of the Pretoria Wesleyan Church, said he was concerned for the safety of the elderly should a casino be built. 'My initial reaction would be that I prefer to not have a casino here,' he said. They would make a submission to oppose transferring of the casino licence.

Written submissions on the plan can be handed in at the offices of the Gauteng Gambling Board, 125 Corlett Drive, Waverley Office Park, Bramley, Joburg.

Pretoria News


  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work.


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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!