Bonn The city's Historical Building conservationists do not want ice rink operator Ottmar Kaiser to set up a tent in the Stadtgarten. It would disturb the view of the Rhine. But Kaiser does not want to accept this - which now endangers the operation.
Shattering ice under the runners: In the middle of this summer's first heat wave, the thought of the winter ice rink in the Stadtgarten is extremely refreshing. However, only three months before the start of the ice fun, the attraction is on the brink of collapse, regrets operator Ottmar Kaiser.
Although the building authorities have initially granted permission for the temporary construction. However, he is not allowed to erect a tent in the rear part of the attraction this year - for reasons of Historical Building protection. "I cannot accept that," says Kaiser. "Especially not this year with the distance regulations." More than two months ago he filed an objection. Further documents were requested. An answer is pending.
About 30,000 visitors per year
In 2012 Kaiser, who mainly runs the sports mile in Buschdorf over the year, will move the ice rink from the Museum Mile to the Stadtgarten in front of the Koblenz Gate. Not an easy location, as there is a lack of walk-in customers who consume cocoa, mulled wine and bratwurst. Unlike in Cologne, where the ice rink winds its way between the stalls of the Christmas market. "I make my living from the skaters and must therefore offer them the best possible conditions," says Kaiser. He is quite satisfied with the average of around 30,000 visitors per year.
However, not only the summers in Bonn are getting hotter, but also the winters milder and wetter. Kaiser: "Out of 66 days we had 40 days of rain last season". He has therefore completely covered his ice rink. In light rain, all the other runners would always have found shelter under the tent roof. In heavy rain, the slippery rink had to be closed for safety reasons.
Tents block the view of the Rhine and Koblenzer Tor
The problem began in 2019. At first, the city's Lower Historical Building Protection Authority was annoyed by the colourful pagoda tents. They were too high and obstructed the view of the Rhine and the Koblenz Gate. It didn't matter that the Rhine flows ten metres lower and the view of it is blocked by a hedge anyway. Kaiser had the ice surface reduced and rented two lower white tents instead of pagodas.
In 2020, the renovation of the Stadtgarten got underway and with it the greater opening of the line of sight to the shore. Contrary to original plans, it has not yet been completed. The traffic lights on the B9 were not moved towards the gate. The elevator to the shore planned for this year will probably be installed in the first half of 2021 (the GA reported).
Nevertheless, the tents of the ice rink now disturb the conservationists even more.
Although the city approves the erection of the large aluminum buildings with dimensions of 32 by 40 meters at the front towards the B 9. The smaller aluminium tent with a base area of twelve by 23 metres behind it and thus visible from the Old Customs Office at best, however, is not approved.
Upon request of the GA, the administration insists that the roofing would disturb the view between the Electoral Palace, the Court Garden and the Old Customs House as well as the Rhine. "This is also relevant in the case of temporary use, which after all will last for three months," writes Markus Schmitz from the press office. According to the press office, this year's "first-time application for an additional Scateway system with its planned pagoda-shaped roofing" has reached a level "which the Historical Building Authority can no longer approve“.
The fact that this Scateway had already been located on the Rhine in previous years, was reduced in size in 2019 and since then has no longer had a pagoda shape is apparently not known to the Historical Buildings Office. According to the administration, a reduction in size was requested and traceable documents were only received on July 21. These would now be discussed with the LVR Office for Historical Building Preservation. There they are even more critical: The office wants to put the city garden under Historical Building protection - against the vote of the city.
It is questionable whether Kaiser will venture onto the economic black ice this year. Even on the planned ice surface of around 1500 square metres, it would be difficult to reconcile the distance requirement for protection against infections with the corona virus and the required number of visitors. "If another 276 square metres are missing, it will not pay", he thinks. If a decision is not made soon, the lead time for group bookings will also be too short.
(Original text: Martin Wein; Translation: Mareike Graepel)