Anthony Stroebel, Bay Harbour Market
It would seem that there is a degree of unhealthy misconception in certain quarters around the history of the Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay building, so I thought it would be worthwhile providing the facts, so that these can’t be misinterpreted for purposes of driving personal or political agendas or just simply so that everybody is properly informed.
Sea Harvest (Pty) Ltd closed down their Hout Bay fish processing factory around 2005, following which the building stood empty for several years. During this time it became completely derelict and vandalised.
The building was bought by a private Hout Bay-based investment company in December 2008.
We discovered this as an opportunity in late 2009, following which we signed a long-term lease with the owner and landlord (Hout Bay Harvest Centre (Pty) Ltd) for the ground floor of the portion that stands on the private erf 1187.
The other part of the building, now called Harvest Centre, stretches over a separate erf 1185 for which the Harvest Centre company acquired a lease from the Department of Public Works in 2011.
Several million rands of private funds were spent, using only local labour and skills where possible, to repair and re-purpose the building and to allow for proper occupation to operate what is today the Bay Harbour Market, which opened in July 2011 i.e. after a development phase of 18 months.
It is important to note that, whereas most if not all of the other buildings in the area are government owned and, as such, are managed by the Department of Public Works, our building on erf 1187 is privately owned.
The market, in turn, is also owned and managed by a private company. The building is therefore not subject to the debate which currently surrounds the government-owned buildings in the area regarding allocation of leases into the future.
Since inception, we have always considered one of our key roles in the community to be the creation of social development opportunities, whether this be community upliftment, job creation or the creation and development of small commercial enterprise, this within the sustainable commercially-viable framework that is Bay Harbour Market.
We continually strive to honour this commitment via a number of ongoing community projects and engagements and, from a job creation perspective as at current date, we employ, either directly as a business or via our traders, 63 Hangberg residents and 48 Imizamo Yethu residents.
The number of traders from these communities was in fact higher at inception in 2011, however, these diminished over time for reasons beyond our control, despite our best efforts and significant investment to prevent this.
It is also worth noting that in the past six years we have invested in excess of R4 million on marketing the market, the precinct and, indeed, Hout Bay generally, with the result that on average we receive approximately 5 000 to 6 000 visitors every weekend, this escalating to 10 000 during the peak season.
As a result of this, other commercial establishments have been allowed to developed in the area by trading on this “guaranteed customer traffic”, thereby honouring our original vision of catalysing commercial opportunity in the precinct with the market as a sustainable commercial anchor.
We are proud of our endeavours to date in establishing one of Cape Town’s most respected markets and will continue to offer local entrepreneurs opportunities wherever possible.
We accordingly invite members of the local community to bring ideas and applications to the fore, be they traders or indeed otherwise (go to www.bayharbour.co.za ).
Our intention is always to view these favourably, but always needing this to be in the context of ensuring that all stalls uphold the standards of the market in terms of quality, vis-ion and ethos and, in so doing, ensure the need for the business to continue to consistently attract the discerning clientele that it does and to thereby remain commercially viable and sustainable.
We take this opportunity to thank all of Hout Bay for your support over the last six years and look forward to many successful years aheadand ask that wherever possible, you shop local rather than taking business out of Hout Bay. Viva republica!