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The Dunkeld West Sport and Recreation Centre, a venue for extramural activities in Johannesburg, has changed hands. But the asset will not lose its allure as a go-to place for residents’ sporting activities.

The historic facility, a portion of which was for years leased to the National Association of Blind Bowlers (NABB), is now in the hands of Boston City Campus and Business School, which the private sector educational institution will use to grow its “contemporary and progressive innovation education system and provide the community with a well maintained and secured sport and recreation facility”.

The facility – off Kent and Hume Street from Jan Smuts Avenue, in Ward 90 of Region B – is owned by the City of Johannesburg, and managed by the City of Joburg’s property arm (City of Joburg Property. It was leased to Boston after a competitive tender process earlier this year.

According to the agreement, Boston will lease the property from JPC for nine years and eleven months.

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, Ruby Mathang, says that the facility would remain “open and accessible to the community and the public”.

“The idea is not to redevelop the entire sports facility into an institutional [one]. Only a component of the existing structure will be converted into a computer lab for the purposes of [Boston’s] educational requirements. The rest of [it] will continue to be used as a sports and recreation facility,” says MMC Mathang.

He says the City is open to suggestions from the community on which other activities should be accommodated in the new arrangement. Boston itself has proposed various activities, including soccer.

“It should also be noted that the community will not be charged for the use of the facilities and access won’t be denied as long as it is within reasonable time and not in conflict with Boston’s operations.”

A meeting between the local councillor, JPC officials, Boston management and members of community to discuss how the facility will operate going forward has been scheduled.

The sports section of the Dunkeld West Sport and Recreation Centre was leased to NABB from August 2000 to June 2010. On its expiry, NABB was allowed to continue with the lease on a month-to-month basis while JPC, through the council, addressed issues of new legislation that had come into effect between 2005 and 2008 before a possible renewal of the lease agreement could be considered.

On 22 January 2014, NABB was served with an official letter to vacate the property due to its non-compliance with the lease agreement. It was given 30 days to cease all activities on the property, vacate the facility and hand the property back to council on 21 February 2014.

MMC Mathang says on a broader scale, the City is in the process of placing all City of Johannesburg’s sports facilities that are standing idle on public tender for the development of sport, recreation and community purposes, ensuring that the facilities become accessible to the public, which are well maintained secured and sustainable.