Retail businesses in the city centre „Bonn Shines": Lights out?

Bonn · "Bonn Shines" took place for the last time in its traditional form last weekend. This is because a majority of politicians is pushing for a new concept for the event.

 Bonn will probably no longer be illuminated in this form in the future. The majority in the district council and city council want a different concept.

Bonn will probably no longer be illuminated in this form in the future. The majority in the district council and city council want a different concept.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Will the lights go out for "Bonn Shines"? No sooner have the cable drums been rolled up after the big event with an open Sunday in the city centre at the weekend than attention turns to the future. The future is anything but certain as far as the concept is concerned. As is well known, there is opposition from politicians and environmental protection associations to the event being held in its current form with its spectacular illumination of Bonn's architectural monuments.

A few days ago, Heiko Haupt from Bonn's Nordstadt sent the impressive number of eleven citizens' petitions to the political committees. All letters bear his name on the letterhead as well as the logos of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu) and the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND). Three of the petitions deal with street lighting, light pollution and the illumination of buildings. Haupt confirmed to the General-Anzeiger on Monday that his submissions were – also – motivated by "Bonn Shines“.

In connection with this event, he was particularly concerned about the bats, which lived in the walls of the Minster and the Namen-Jesu Church, at least, and possibly in more locations. "I also assume that there is a bat population at the university, analogous to the Poppelsdorf Palace," says the biologist. For an event where these historic facades are illuminated, as in the case of "Bonn Shines" (Bonn lights up), Haupts is convinced that a prior species protection assessment is required.

He has therefore been in "constructive contact" with the City-Marketing association as organiser for almost two years, as the 54-year-old says. However, the careful species protection assessment, along with the imponderables due to Corona, are said to have led to the preparations for the weekend's event only being completed literally at the last minute. In this context, Haupt also points to the exceptions and compromises, such as limiting lighting to the façade, which are definitely preserved as options in his applications: "For me it is not about a rigorous ban, but about precaution," says Haupt. However, he adds, if the policy were to rule out façade lighting altogether, he would have nothing against it either.

Left-wing politician: No token events for open Sundays

When it came to criticism of commercial events in Bonn, Hanno von Raußendorf of the Left Party was not far behind. Only last week, a busy concert organiser from Bonn was rebuffed by the left-wing majority in the district council with his proposal for a cherry blossom festival in the Nordstadt. One of the spokesmen in the debate: Hanno von Raußendorf. Nevertheless, the 59-year-old does not want to put on the hat of the "city spoilsport": "I have nothing against someone earning money. But here the connection just didn't fit," he says. And he will also not make friends with "token events that only serve to provide the framework for a Sunday open for sales“.

His party had expressly granted a higher subsidy to the Bonn Festival in order to enhance the stage programme. As far as "Bonn Shines" is concerned, the aim is not to abolish it, but to improve its quality by going beyond the illumination of facades. "We want an entertaining and beautiful event for the citizens of the city," says von Raußendorf.

Organisers: no new concept ready yet

This is also what Karina Kröber from City-Marketing wants: "Bonn Shines" should continue to be "a magnet for young and old, quiet, budget-friendly and with a Sunday open for sales", she outlines the ideas by the retail association. Everything else can be discussed," says Kröber, even if she still cannot understand the ecological arguments against "Bonn Shines". After all, experts had confirmed the event's climate neutrality with the "green footprint" in the year of the World Climate Conference. Now the future direction of the event will be discussed in cooperation with local politicians.

Kröber is not yet prepared to comment on a historical fair, which is apparently already being favoured by some politicians as a replacement: Nothing concrete can be said about alternatives yet.

Original text: Rüdiger Franz

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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