Great division has developed amongst residents in the neighbourhood of Prinsjagt. At the centre of the dispute in a playground in Madernolaan that has to make way for a proposed community centre. The initiative from the residents association has been met with fierce resistance from 18 residents.
The 18 objectors are going to court in order to prevent the construction of the community centre, thereby saving the playground. They do not object to having a community centre in the neighbourhood – just not at the site of the playground. The alternatives that they presented to the residents association were disregarded, according to the objectors.
Chariman, Dick Veenstra, of the Vereniging Wijkbelangen Prinsenjagt 3 says there is no going back. The community centre will be built where the playground is now. In February 2016, the placement of the commuity centre was approved by the vast majority of the members of the residents association. The neighbourhood then gave the Wijkbelangen Prinsenjagt 3 board a mandate.
In addition, the licences for the proposed location of the community centre have already been issued by the city council. All grants have also been applied for and the contractor has agreed to do the work. It is now in the implementation stage, according to Veenstra. The chairman says the alternatives suggested by the objectors are not viable options. Not only because the proposed site has long been approved, but also because zoning and the placement of several underground pipes makes these alternatives unsuitable.
The group of 18 disputes this – according to officials, some of the alternate sites are suitable locations for the community centre with regards to technical requirements and town planning. The residents of the various alternate sites also have no problem having a community centre on these sites.
Councillor Yasin Torunoglu does not want to intervene in this citizens’ initiative. According to him, the playground must make way for the community centre because most of the residents are in favour of it. He does, however, want to send another district newsletter so the objectors can take it to court. They could potentially delay or prevent the removal of the playground, but that is up to the judge. According to Torunoglu, the council is only a facilitator.
The tension is not exaggerated. Both camps acknowledge that communication between them is not always friendly. The residents association, as well as the objectors, hope this storm will blow over eventually. Though it seems there is little evidence of this currently, what with the trial scheduled for May – at about the same time as the community center should be finished.