My fifth theme debate on behalf of GroenLinks in the city council of Zwolle was a theme debate on municipal services and resident engagement. Together with my colleague Marloes we prepared the debate, I was responsible for a limited number of subjects subjects: (in Dutch):
- Jaarverslag bezwaarschriftenbehandeling 2022
- Verslag Klachtenbehandeling 2022
- Ontwikkelingen jaarwisseling 2022-2023
- Toilet aan de Potgietersingel
- Voorgestelde wijze van afdoening motie minimumloon 14,- voor iedereen die (indirect) voor de gemeente werkt
Since talk time was limited to six minutes per political party, of course choices had to be made on what to talk about. You can watch the debate (in Dutch) below, or read my statement (in English) below the video.
- Jaarverslag bezwaarschriftenbehandeling 2022: An annual report on the handling of appeals by the municipality.
- Verslag Klachtenbehandeling 2022: An annual report on the handling of complaints by the municipality.
- Ontwikkelingen jaarwisseling 2022-2023: A report on fireworks and New Year’s Eve 22-23 which is relevant because of an earlier: debate and motion and the policy to ban the use of consumer fireworks in Zwolle and start a new tradition which is due tot be delivered by the end of the year.
- Toilet aan de Potgietersingel: In another concurrent debate plans to add more public toilets to Zwolle are on the agenda (5J). This report is about one of the few public toilets in our city centre we currently operate and the fact that it does not always function.
- Voorgestelde wijze van afdoening motie minimumloon 14,- voor iedereen die (indirect) voor de gemeente werkt: This is the reply from the alderman to a motion that was drafted by the PvdA, Swollwacht, VOLT, SP, PvdD and GroenLinks about making sure the minimum wage should be at least 14 euro for everyone who works for the municipality directly or indirectly.
Thank you Chairperson. I have a number of issues on behalf of the GroenLinks that I would like to highlight, starting with the developments surrounding New Year’s Eve 2022-2023.
First of all, nice to see that we have had a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve and that there has been such extensive enquiry into other cities’ experiences on banning consumer fireworks and an alternative tradition. A mix of stories are show in the report. Unfortunately, experiences with an alternative tradition have been limited due to poor weather conditions last New Year’s Eve. GroenLinks is curious to see how the Mayor will shape this new tradition and the gradual introduction of the ban in Zwolle, and looks forward to the elaboration. Furthermore, we would like to make some remarks about the report.
In my opinion, the drop in the number of nuisance reports is partly due to the way of reporting; as I also pointed out in last debate, calling the police is not an accessible way of reporting. If I myself were to call the police every time I was bothered by fireworks (outside the time you are allowed to set off fireworks), the number of reports would have gone up by at least 25%. I myself do not want to bother the police so often purely for registration of my complaint, but it makes this debate difficult. If the mayor stands firm on this point and does not introduce a more accessible way of reporting, I have no choice but to call the police every time in future, I hope this can be addressed in the multi-year fireworks policy, can the mayor briefly reflect on this.
The report goes on to talk about the damage to municipal property, but the actual damage from consumer fireworks is of course much greater, not only injuries to victims, but also air pollution and residues of fireworks that stays behind are all things we as a society pay for while the majority of our country no longer wants this. Another reason to look forward to that alternative tradition in Zwolle!
Then, as a second topic, briefly the toilet at Potgietersingel. A topic that was in all election manifestos was more accessible public toilets in our city. I know there is a item on the agenda in the room next door, but the refurbishment proposed in this piece does not seem to contribute in its entirety to that accessibility. Accepting the fact that (in some cases) one of the few public toilets in our city is out of use for a month or more the fact that you still have to wait 6 minutes between use and until the next person can use the toilet raises questions for GroenLinks, is the problem being solved with the proposed solution? Can the councillor comment briefly on this?
What will happen because we participated:
- No concrete commitments were made by the Mayor or alderman during this debate because of our statement.