Track drives residents round the bend

The residential creep of Bloekombos has resulted in housing being flush with the racetracks back wall.

The days of thunder at the Tygerberg Raceway may be numbered with long-term plans for roaring race cars to give way to housing.

When the track finally does fall silent, it’s likely to be met with mixed reaction from Bloekombos residents who live nearby.

Some say the noise is unbearable; others reckon it helps to put bread on the table, and the noise doesn’t bother those who like to look over their walls and catch some of the action.

The race oval, on the corner of Old Paarl and Maroela roads, is the “longest, widest, fastest, dirt oval track” in the country, according to the raceway’s website. But its future, at least at the current site, appears to hang in the balance.

Sub-council 2 manager Grant Twigg said the track’s initial long-term lease had expired and it now had a temporary month-to-month lease.

He was responding to residents’ complaints about noise from the track at the City’s budget meeting, at the Kraaifontein community hall (“Budget: water cuts and hikes,” Northern News, April 12).

The long-term plans for the site involved housing, Mr Twigg said.

Bloekombos’s urban creep has seen RDP houses move ever closer to the track’s perimeter, offering residents either a front-row seat to the action or ear-splitting torture, depending on whom you speak to.

Johan le Roux, has lived a few metres from the back wall of the track for seven years and says the noise doesn’t bother him.

“It’s just once in a while,” he said. “Sometimes one or two cars come to practise but it is not everyday.”

Mr Le Roux said there were races perhaps once or twice a month.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “Sometimes when they race I like to look over the wall and watch.”

Mbulelo Tembisa, however, says the noise goes on until late at night. His house faces the back wall of the track, and he has been living there for four years… four very long years.

“It starts at about 5pm and goes on until midnight. It’s a lot of noise, and I can’t even sleep.”

Mr Tembisa said the track employed locals on racing days but he felt that did not compensate for the noise.

Sally Jomfana, on the other hand, said she liked the noise and had herself worked at the track on occasion.

“I like this place,” she said, explaining that she had been paid about R150 for working there. “They help us.”

When asked how she felt about the noise, she said: “I’ve accepted it. The community did complain about it but they are not complaining anymore, and I like the noise. I always play my music loud.”

Accounting student Amanda Njqunga said the noise made it difficult for her to study. She has been living in Bloekombos for seven years.

“On Saturdays, they make a lot of noise, sometimes up until midnight,” she said.

Race track owner Christelle Liebenberg said City inspectors had done noise pollution testing at the track and it was found to be well within the prescribed limits.

“We have to work within special requirements,” she said. Ms Liebenberg said they had not received any noise complaints and that they had always tried to “help” the community and maintain a good relationship with them.

“The community is very good to us,” she said.

City spokeswoman Hayley Van der Woude said the City’s noise control unit had received complaints “a very long time ago” about the track. The track management had then installed “sound abatement measures” for the cars, and since then no further complaints had been received.

Residents concerned about noise levels could contact the City’s call centre at 0860 103 089