Fair shares: Amstelveen urged to pay towards Amsterdam’s forest
Amsterdam councillors are calling on nearby Amstelveen to help pay for work on the Amsterdamse Bos – 935 hectares of woodland and waterways which straddle the two local authority areas.
Most of the forest, which was planted in the 1930s as a work creation project, lies within Amstelveen but the Dutch capital is responsible for its upkeep.
The city said last year it would invest millions of euros on improving the woods but according to Anke Bakker, from the pro animal PvdD, the budget for upkeep is €4 million short.
‘It is high time that Amstelveen helps pay, because they enjoy the woods as well,’ she said.
A majority of Amsterdam councillors have now voted in favour of Bakker’s suggestion to split the bill for dredging ditches, making sure bridges are safe and ensuring the wood stays well-drained.
Talks with Amstelveen have already started. Council official Floor Gordon told local broadcaster AT5 that she has held ‘constructive talks’ with her counterpart in Amsterdam.
‘The woods are currently 100% owned by Amsterdam and the owner is responsible for the upkeep,’ she said. ‘We are looking into a new type of alliance and shared ownership is something our council would very much like to see.’
Bakker hinted that one way of keeping the Amstelveeners happy about the extra cost might be to change the name of the woods to reflect both cities.
‘Perhaps, if we get that far, there could be a competition,’ she told Dutch News. ‘You could name it after the wood’s designer Jacoba Mulder or merge Amsterdam and Amstelveen to have the Amsteldamse Bos… but before that, the two councils have to work together and sort out the financing to ensure the woods have a great future ahead.’
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