Park may get upgraded, or not

It is still unclear whether Mrs Sippi Blue will be demolished or not, but the building stands vacant.

An alleged upgrade and demolishing of buildings at Gillooly’s Park appears to be a mystery that no one can solve.

At this point the upgrade seems to be a matter of confusion between two Ekurhuleni departments, namely metro parks and real estate.

According to the ward 20 councillor, Jill Humphreys, both appear to be singing a different tune with regards to the upgrade and plan thereof.

“A notice was sent that there was to be an upgrade of the park. A public meeting was held, where a presentation of the upgrade plan was given. In the plan, Mrs Sippi Blue was to be demolished,” explained Humphreys.

Mrs Sippi Blues was a restaurant and pub at the park.

Also read: R1-million upgrade for Gillooly’s Farm

“The tenant has packed up and left. He gave me the key, which I handed over to the real estate department,” Humphreys said.

She pointed out that the ablution system and electricity were left in good working condition.

“Next thing I know I get a panicked call from real estate saying we’re upgrading and not demolishing.

“The two departments are not communicating. I just spoke to parks and they said they were going ahead with plans to demolish. It depends who you talk to,” Humphreys added.

Humphreys is worried that the building is standing empty.

Clr Jill Humphreys stands next to the notice of closure that has since been put up at the premises.

“I’m worried it’s going to be vandalised. It needs to be protected. Real estate said it was going to be protected, but there is not sufficient security.”

The previous tenant, Graham Dickson, said he had no plans of returning to the premises as there was too much confusion.

“I didn’t receive any letter. There was a document of the upgrade floating around, it was pinned to the gate. I think it’s still there. We attended a public meeting and were told by the architect during a presentation of the upgrade plan that they were going to demolish the premises.”

According to Dickson, in the meeting it was stated that upgrades would begin from the start of June this year and a budget of R10-million had been set aside for this.

He then vacated the premises on May 31 after eight years of occupation.

“Looks like one department doesn’t know what the other department is doing; we’re not going back, we’ve made our peace with it,” he said.

Metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe said metro parks was not aware of any plans that the restaurant was going to be demolished.

“There have been a couple of applications and proposals with regards to the future of the park and the upgrade of the park was one of them. As far as the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) is concerned, no final decision has been taken,” said Gadebe.

Gadebe said no provision had been made on the budget for the upgrading of the park in the 2017/2018 financial year.

Having ‘fun at Gillooly’s

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