Every year there is an interview with the municipal council in the magazine Alphens.nl. This year, we reversed the roles and gave residents the opportunity to ask them questions. In this article, the mayor and alderman answer the most frequently asked questions.
Can I have 5 minutes to speak during a board meeting?
Mayor Lisbeth Spies replies: “It is possible to speak during a committee meeting and in some cases also during a council meeting. This way you can convey your opinion or concern directly to the city council. You can apply for this in the registry. However, there are many ways to make your voice heard.” As a resident and to contribute to a better, greener and healthier municipality!From writing a letter or email to a college or council, to participating in village consultations or attending an informational meeting about a project in your area.You can also start an initiative for residents in your area with neighbors or reach out to a district advisor.Maybe Most easy: cast your vote during the election! Only together we can make Alvin aan den Rijn more beautiful and better.”
Alderman Gerard van As mainly received questions about housing at Gnephoek. For example: “Why is the Green Heart sacrificed for housing?” or “Would this be a neighborhood with expensive homes?”
Alderman Gerard van As realizes that Alderman Gerard van As is in the Green Heart and must use the space carefully. He answers: “The demand for space for living, working, moving, recreation, energy, climate and nature is increasing and there is a limit to building within the city. That is why we investigated how to responsibly develop the municipality into a healthy living environment for people and nature, while increasing biodiversity. Now there is only land Grassland in this lowland, soon to be an area where it is good for birds to live (meadow) We also make the area accessible for recreation with cycling and walking trails. And no, it will not be a neighborhood with only very expensive houses: 60% of the homes built here will be accessible to low- and middle-income target groups.
How can each inhabitant reach their full potential if accessibility is an issue for many?
Alderman Anuk Nordermeer replies: “I think it is important that everyone can participate. People can be independent and travel where they want to go. We are well aware that this is not always obvious for people with disabilities. We try to do this as much as possible. Since 2020, we have Alphen aan den Rijn’s accessible agenda. Through the action points mentioned here, we are trying to remove barriers for people with disabilities. It is important that we take into account accessibility immediately when renovating, building or developing areas.”
A good example is Stadhuisplein: when this square was adapted to make the center greener, accessible bus stops and a road for the blind were also created. “In principle, all bus stops in our municipality are equipped with guide lines. Sometimes these are not (anymore) quite right. Then we as a municipality would like to hear about it, so that we can work it out. Anyway, if you think it can be improved Accessibility somewhere, let us know!”
Why does the municipality achieve greenery in the center of Alvin, but not plant trees in the places where they were excavated, to enhance green spaces in neighborhoods and villages?
Alderman Rels Priusma replies: “We will invest heavily in green in the coming years, for example by greening village entrances and planting more trees. All neighborhoods and villages of Alven aan den Rijn will notice it! Trees are very important for our climate, our biodiversity and of course our health.”
However, it also happens that trees have to be cut down. “Sometimes for reasons of safety, sometimes to make room for another development. Our starting point is always that every tree that is felled is also planted again. Where possible it will be done in the same place, and where this is not possible another will be sought.” This fall we are having great success replanting the trees that were cut down in the last two years. Many of the trees will come back next winter, spread all over the municipality.”
What is the municipality doing about climate-smart building?
Alderman Gert van den Ham replies: “We have to do a lot about greening to absorb heat, water and dry properly. Gnephoek, for example, will be designed in such a way that showers of up to 120 mm in the area can be collected, retained and discharged in a delayed manner. “The construction methods and techniques are designed according to the quality of the soil. We are also seeking to develop the circular area. This can be done, for example, by using natural building materials instead of stone, concrete and cement or by reusing the materials.”
What would you most like to have at Alphen aan den Rijn?
Alderman Gert Jan Chotanus replies: “Nice question! Can I mention two topics? I wish all of our residents to exercise for life, move and relax to stay healthy. To avoid any problems. So I would like to see that we provide all facilities for that in our municipality. I am committed to that.”
He would also like residents to take the initiative more often and be more involved with their street or neighborhood. “How can the municipality challenge you further and how can we do it better together? These are also questions and invitations for you; I would like to discuss this.”
This article was previously published in the eleventh edition (December 2022) of Alphens.nl. Did you receive the magazine? You can pick up a copy at our office at Raadhuisstraat 211.
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