Vision for the future Idea for the closed Sea Life Königswinter gains momentum
Königswinter · The closed Sea Life building in Königswinter could be turned into a climate centre. The idea's creators are getting backing from many sides. But how realistic are these initial plans?
The journalists Hansjürgen Melzer from Königswinter and Kathrin Janßen from Oberkassel, who put forward the proposal for a climate centre at Sea Life as part of a citizens' petition, want to hold many talks in the coming weeks: with representatives of the University of Bonn, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Deutsche Post, Museum Ludwig, Tourismus Siebengebirge GmbH and the business development agency.
On the one hand, the aim is to find out who would participate as a partner in a possible climate centre in Königswinter and what such a contribution could look like. On the other hand, it is also about sounding out potential sponsors of the project and possible financing options. "After all, we are only the idea providers. We cannot finance it," says Hansjürgen Melzer. However, the proposal itself has been positively received from many sides.
The proposal with the climate centre appeals to him the most of all the proposals made so far, says Diego Fernández Reumann from the real estate investor Verianos, which has bought a dozen houses in Königswinter; among them the Drachenfelshotel opposite the former Sea Life. "If we can do something and support in any way, we are happy to help," says Reumann.
Hans Peter Lindlar, chairman of the Verschönerungsverein für das Siebengebirge (VVS), can also warm to the idea. In view of institutions such as the UN Climate Secretariat, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Federal Environment Agency, a climate centre in the former Sea Life building would be an "ideal showpiece on the doorstep to demonstrate the topics of climate protection and sustainability". At the same time, it would be conceivable that various aspects of climate and nature conservation could be presented there theoretically in a kind of impulse exhibition, and then be marvelled at in practice in the Siebengebirge, thus creating a dovetailing of the two.
Positive reaction in the Siebengebirge Beautification Association
The VVS still wants to set up an exhibition on its wilderness area, i.e. the untouched areas of the forest that are largely left to their own devices. Visitors should be able to learn everything about it and then see it live and in colour. In addition to the castle courtyard, which could be a possible exhibition site, it would also be conceivable to include a "Königswinter Climate Centre" for this purpose, according to the VVS chairperson.
Oliver Bremm from Tourismus Siebengebirge GmbH also likes the idea of a "climate centre". If such a project were to be implemented at Sea Life, he would also consider it sensible to link it to the Siebengebirge. Instead of only explaining the consequences of climate change to visitors in theory, they could be demonstrated in practice in the nature reserve.
However, Bremm has reservations about the nature of the Sea Life building. The question is whether it is suitable for a climate centre because of its small size and the lack of an outdoor area. If it turns out that this is not the case, the question would be whether Königswinter could still get a climate centre. But at a different location. Keyword: Palastweiher.
Sea Life Königswinter building was designed for aquariums
The problems posed by the Sea Life building designed as an aquarium are also on the minds of those who hatched the idea. "You would definitely have to go through it with an exhibition planner and see what works and how," says Hansjürgen Melzer. And of course see if anything is possible at all. It is also clear to both of them that the question of sponsorship and financing must be clarified, Melzer said on Tuesday. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, supports innovative adventure offers with up to 90 per cent of the eligible expenses through the "Erlebnis.NRW" programme with funds from the EU. "This would keep the city of Königswinter's own financial contribution within narrow limits," the two idea providers argue. Peter Lindlar of the VVS asks whether the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation or the Federal Environment Agency could be considered as sponsors of such a climate centre.
The crucial question of feasibility
According to Mayor Lutz Wagner (KöWI), the question of feasibility is one of the central questions that must be answered for all ideas on how to proceed with the former Sea Life. Even if the idea of the climate centre meets with much approval: As far as ideas for the future of Rheinallee 8 are concerned, it is not yet the end of the day. On the contrary, things are (hopefully) just getting started. On behalf of the politicians and with the involvement of the AG Altstadt Königswinter, the administration is currently working out the guidelines for what Wagner calls a "transparent and fair expression of interest procedure" that will give investors, project developers, clubs, associations and citizens the opportunity to contribute their ideas for the future of the building. "We want to get a colourful bouquet of ideas," says Wagner. Only then can a decision be made. Whether it will be the climate centre or something else entirely remains to be seen.
Designing new things, preserving old ones
The Vinothek RheinWeinWelt in Rüdesheim is an example of how special buildings can be turned into something special. Designing something new, preserving something old was the basic idea behind the concept with which the world of experience was created in the historic, listed building of the former Asbach Uralt distillery. Where wine was once stored in huge tiled basins, visitors can not only learn about the wine-growing regions in the Rhine, but also taste their way through, equipped with the appropriate tokens.
(Original text: Lydia Schauff / Translation: Mareike Graepel)