(Original text; Andreas Baumann, translation John Chandler)
Bonn · On Tuesday, the Bonn city administration cancelled the project advisory committee for the Beethovenhalle renovation, completely unexpectedly, just a few hours before the beginning of the meeting. The city justified this by citing problems with the schedule. Harsh criticism is coming from parliamentary groups.
The unusual mail reached the council factions around noon that the Beethovenhalle project advisory board, the central political body within which the city administration reports on the progress of the redevelopment, was cancelled at short notice.
“Contrary to expectations and hopes, it is not possible for the city administration to present a timetable that takes all eventualities into account to be able to give a completion date,” wrote city director Wolfgang Fuchs, who is in charge of the project. Unofficially, the years 2021 or 2022 were the last dates to be mentioned.
The decision to cancel was coordinated with Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan, the press office explained later. The reason for this was primarily the ongoing coordination with the specialist planners and the construction companies. In recent months, a subcontractor of the architect has been working on a new schedule. This schedule, with which all contract work had to be coordinated, had been the subject of repeated heated disputes between the architects and the external project controllers over the past few months.
Immediately after the cancellation, the opposition in the council came up with harsh criticism of the city leaders. “From my point of view, this amounts to a renewed admission of defeat,” said Michael Faber, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group. “The city director is obviously overstretched by the reorganization project, and the mayor shies away even further.”
Marcel Schmitt, parliamentary party leader at the Bonn Citizens’ Group (BBB) emphasised that eight months had already passed since the special meeting of the council, in which the administration had asked for a few weeks of patience in order to get the renovation of the concert hall back on track. “City director Fuchs is still unable to say how the construction will continue after the stoppage of work and when the Beethovenhalle will finally be ready for operation,” said Schmitt. “Bonn is thus making itself a laughing stock nationally.”
Tom Schmidt, the leader of the Green parliamentary group, thinks it is right not to present the new timetable until it has been agreed with all the companies involved and can be implemented. Nevertheless, Schmidt held the cancellation of the advisory board meeting to be wrong: “Questions on other points could have been asked. It would have been a bid for transparency to hold the meeting.”
According to the press office, the next meeting should take place as early as possible next year. The renovation costs have risen from 61.5 million euros to 166 million euros (worst-case scenario).