Bonn · The majority voted against the construction of the Wasserlandbad in Dottendorf. Clear conditions in Bad Godesberg and in the North of the city tipped the scales in the decision. An Analysis.
A German figure of speech from the soccer world says that if you lead by one goal you’ll definitely lose. That this would be true is not obvious when the first objection is published on the screen in the City Hall. But there were few people present anyway who could have noticed. The few who are there know though: In Alt-Tannenbusch, the Wasserlandbad has a pro-majority. With 52 percent against 48 percent in the first district the pro voters are stronger than the contra crowd. But 32 districts are still to be counted.
For a whole hour, nothing happens, bar some breakfast rolls and beverages being brought in. Then the next eagerly awaited objection - from a district which could statistically represent the whole city: Bonn City Centre. The people from the city keep it interesting: 49 percent vote for, 51 percent against the new Wasserlandbad. Again, the pro voters are in the lead. The hall is filling up by now. Despite the relentlessly hard discussion prior to the referendum everyone agrees today: This is going to be a close-run.
First exclamation mark by the opponents
Then, briefly after noon, the Wasserland opponents set their first exclamation mark. Their success in the Northern part of the city, with 74 percent against 26 percent was sweeping. A quarter of an hour later - the district Heiderhof/Muffendorf was just counted with a similar result - the situation turned towards those who want to rather keep the existing pools.
First their advantage grows to 55 percent vs. 45 percent, only to melt down again then. The pro voters could not catch up anymore. With the districts of Kessenich and Dottendorf being known as pro-voters but only counted last, the referendum results get really tight again towards the end, but the pro votes don’t suffice to make the Wasserlandbad happen.
Dreams of new leisure pool burst
The voters in the North of Bonn and in Bad Godesberg (with the exception of Friesdorf) are the ones who let the dreams of a new leisure pool burst. While many other districts stay head-to-head, the supporters of the existing pools have a good two-thirds majority here. The pro Wasserlandbad people only manage results like this in Kessenich and Dottendorf/Gronau. In the end there are too few votes for the construction of the new pool, with the two large districts of Bonn and Beuel neutralising each other and Hardenberg not offering enough quantity of voters despite a 56 percent majority. There is a major surprise when the results of Schwarzrheindorf and Beuel are being published: The new pool is rejected there too.
All in all, the picture is similar to the one on April 22 last year - only with opposite signs. While the people who opposed the Bad Godesberg Kurfürstenbad renovation gathered 50,000 votes, the result of the Wasserland supporters now count 50,833 votes. The lobby for the exiting pools did mobilise efficiently and gathered more momentum: Yes to the Kurfürstenbad was voted by 46,888 people in 2017, a No against the Wasserland was voted by 54,932.
All against Godesberg
The rough analysis from 2017 - „all against Godesberg“ - is fitting again. With the difference that the Godesberg people now have allies in the North of Bonn. This unusual alliance is the reason that the ambitions for the Wasserland construction fall through completely in the end. At 2.27pm the decision is clear. Cheering and disappointment keep within limits, the hall empties quickly.
Original text: Sabrina Bauer, Rüdiger Franz
Translation: Mareike Graepel