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Controversial cable car plans: Bonn politicians severely criticise building councilor Wiesner

Controversial cable car plans : Bonn politicians severely criticise building councilor Wiesner

Comments by Helmut Wiesner on the course of the cable car route has annoyed all political parties. The city council has not yet decided on this.

Politicians of all factions and citizens' associations have reacted with strong words to the statement by Bonn's city planning officer Helmut Wiesner, and have accused him of acting on his own authority. The councillor, who among other things is responsible for traffic planning in Bonn, had explained unequivocally in a conversation with the GA a few days ago that the route for the planned cable car had been fixed and that route changes were no longer possible. Wiesner referred to the administrative documents discussed in committee meetings and in the city council since 2017, which had only ever been about the favoured northern route from the university hospital on Venusberg via the UN campus to Schießbergweg in Ramersdorf.

However, the vast majority of politicians involved in the issue cannot recall that a legally binding decision had been taken that would lead to a statement about the definitive route of the cable car. Rolf Beu, chairman of the planning committee and transport policy spokesman of the Green faction, told the GA: "I am not aware of any decision." He said that the administration was pushing this project for all it was worth, but in this case it had overshot the mark.

Concrete planning mandate only in the next Council period

Councillor Bert Moll, spokesman for planning of the CDU, praised the commitment of the administration to ensure that the cable car could be realised in a timely manner, but said "there is no binding decision by which the politicians have instructed the administration to define the Schießberg path as the final stop". In his opinion, an extension across the Rhine would make sense in principle, but initially it was only a question of how the traffic burden to the Venusberg could be greatly reduced. "The route must be discussed openly – also with the citizens. A concrete planning mandate will only be given in the next Council period, which is why Mr. Wiesner's commitment to a cable car start in 2025 is bold," said Moll.

Councillor Dieter Schaper, who is also the leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the Beuel district council, said: "With respect, what Mr. Wiesner claims is nonsense. Neither the district council nor citizens of Beuel have seen any plans so far. If Mr. Wiesner wants to continue to push the subject of cable cars in this way, he will have a tough time with the politicians. We won't do things in this way." Martin Eßer, FDP district representative, explained that the words of the city planning commissioner sound more definitive than the situation really is. More than the 2017 feasibility study is not known to the public. "I can only advise that acceptance management on the part of the city towards citizens and politicians be significantly improved," said Eßer.

Politicians will commission the administration

Beuel's district mayor Guido Déus (CDU), emphasised that the Beuel CDU had by no means decided between the underground station and Schießbergweg as a cable car station and that, as far as he knew, politicians were still deciding and commissioning the administration to build one or the other route. "The planning administration should find it almost embarrassing to be able to say so little about the question of car accessibility to the S13 stop at Schießbergweg as well as about the future S13 stop in Vilich." Seriously expecting people to switch to a different means of transport necessarily means making it attractive and thinking about Park & Ride possibilities at an early stage. Ultimately, the future S13 will provide better connections to Cologne–Bonn Airport, so that good accessibility to the transfer points with luggage is essential for its use, said Déus.

Wilfried Mermagen, chairman of the citizens' association of the places in whose jurisdiction both of the cable car stations under discussion are located, commented on the subject from his holiday on Mallorca: "The two possible stops in Ramersdorf have their advantages, but in my opinion, the underground station is the more sensible connection point – also in view of a potential extension of the cable car to the Ennerthöhe". He was increasingly getting the impression that the administration does what it wants on some issues and ignores politics. "We have submitted a citizens’ proposal for the next district council meeting. Then the politicians must clearly tell the administration what they want and what they expect," said Mermagen. In addition, the working group of citizens' associations on the right bank of the Rhine will discuss the cable-car issue on Saturday, August 29, and make a decision on it. "I am sure that the citizens' associations will all be in favour of a stop at the underground station," Mermagen explained.

(Original text; Holger Willcke, translation John Chandler)