For the elections for the city council on March 21st Kieskompas hands a help to choose the party that comes closest to your preferences. That could well be the ChristenUnie ('Christian Union'). Here you can find our opinions on the important issues stated bij Kieskompas.

1. Regulated cannabis cultivation should be allowed in Wageningen

The ChristenUnie is against growing cannabis plants by the municipality, and is also against experimenting with it in Wageningen. Marijuana is and stays a forbidden drug, in view of its negative impact. Short term effects include memory problems, anxiety, increased health risks; long term effects include impaired thinking, poor school performance, antisocial behaviour, and financial difficulties. If cannabis plants are grown under the authority of the local government, a mixed, unclear message is given. The ChristenUnie aims for Wageningen to promote a regional taskforce drugs, to tackle drug-related crime and environmental pollution.

2. The Liberation Festival (Bevrijdingsfestival) needs to be downsized

Every May 4th, many people in the Netherlands commemorate the victims of war. On May 5th many celebrate the liberation and freedom. In Wageningen, liberation is celebrated at the local Liberation Festival. The Wageningen Liberation Festival draws a huge number of visitors (up to 120,000 visitors). The ChristenUnie is in favour of celebration of liberation. We would like this celebration to be more than merely a large music festival though. In the Liberation Festival programme, recent developments on several elements of freedom should have a prominent place. Commemorating civilians and members of armed forces should not be limited to May 4 only; remembrance may also occur at August 15 and other specific occasions, including the annual Freedom Fire renewal and the annual local school adoption of war monuments. The general theme ‘freedom’ should be a prominent theme throughout the year. The ChristenUnie suggests to better highlight significant locations of historical events linked to Second World War and to promote tourism related to Liberation. Moreover, we envisage public awareness of historical events as well as allowing freedom to minorities.

3. Shop owners should decide their own opening hours, also on Sunday

The ChristenUnie is in favour of setting one day (the Sunday) apart from the other days in a week, as this will benefit society at large. We support one day a week of quiet and dissociation from everyday intensity of daily job or study activities. Small enterprises are an essential part of a lively city centre, and require some protection. Owners of small shops have faced stiff competition from large enterprises, as large enterprises can incur the added costs of higher wages of personnel on Sunday. Therefore, the ChristenUnie aims for as low as possible number of Sunday shopping days. We also endeavour, as much as possible, to limit Sunday labour of staff employed by the municipal authority.

4. In order to maintain the current standard of social services, local taxes are allowed to be raised

Within legal limits, the municipality should financially support residents in special circumstances. The ChristenUnie wants broad promotion of local social security aspects to residents. Individuals or families with an inadequate income will receive generous social assistance. Every resident should be able to participate in the society, and participation (sport, cultural events, etc) should not be limited due to inadequate income. If funding of the national government is insufficient to achieve such participation, then the municipality of Wageningen will have to allocate additional funds. If required, a rise in local tax may have to be decided; the funds of the municipality are not unlimited though.

5. Instead of punishing loitering youth, the municipality should increase financing for youth activities

It is important that the youth can develop themselves. A safe environment is crucial at school, (sport) association and also at home. Loitering may in several cases be associated with nuisance including alcohol misuse, public urination, drug dealing, and spitting. In case of nuisance, it should be tackled and penalties imposed in cases of vandalism. However, if youth are not blocking pathways and behave well, there is no need to punish them.

6. No family homes should be converted into student residences

The ChristenUnie does not want family houses to be converted indefinitely for student housing (single student rooms). Family dwellings in Wageningen are often small-sized houses, with or without a garden. There is a large demand for affordable houses with a garden for families.

7. To assure healthcare ends up with people who need it most, the municipality should apply stricter allocation rules

This statement is unclear, according to the ChristenUnie. We want the municipality to provide care to everyone who is in need of help. It is a major responsibility of the municipality. If someone does not need any care, the municipality is also not required to provide help. Because everyone who is in need of care, must receive it, it is not possible to answer this question. It is not about ‘stricter’ or ‘most needed’; when a person is in need, the ChristenUnie wants the municipality to take appropriate action.

8. The city centre should have more parking spaces for cars

There is no significant problem concerning a lack of parking spaces. Many parking spaces are not in use during most of the daytime, and we do not aim to build extra places for the peak parking requirement. In other words, we are not going to build parking space only sparsely occupied. In contrast, we welcome and stimulate cycling. Until recently, the general thought was that many and free parking spaces would be good for the entrepreneurs in the city center. It has become increasingly clear that the biggest income is generated by shoppers who come to town by bicycle. More attention for the cyclist is therefore not only good for the climate and the open space, but also for the entrepreneurs in the center.

9. In order to keep the city centre lively, the municipality needs to allocate more money to big events in the city centre

Rather than a few large events in the city, the ChristenUnie envisages smaller, local oriented events that fit the medium-sized city of Wageningen. Smaller, more frequent events promote the vitality of the city and city centre year-round. Besides, the ChristenUnie is not in favour of events to encourage Sunday trading.

10. Wind turbines can be placed in Wageningen

A vast amount of research has been performed in the past 18 years as to the possibilities of wind turbines on territory of the Wageningen municipality. The research results have made it entirely clear that, unfortunately, there are no suitable locations for wind turbines in Wageningen. Locations are not suitable in view of conflicts with specific measurements against flooding (Rhine floodplains), designated noise abatement zones (Binnenveld), or being related to issues including noise pollution and shadow flicker elsewhere. According to the ChristenUnie, we should not waste any more time and money to investigate possibilities of wind turbines in Wageningen. It is far more efficient to participate in other projects, including large-scale wind turbine projects at the North Sea and in the province of Flevoland, or smaller scale projects including sites along the A12 highway in FoodValley area.

11. The municipality should allocate extra money to the maintenance of school buildings

Dutch municipalities and schools have separate responsibilities as to maintenance of school buildings, which have been laid down in Dutch national law. The municipality receives funds to establish new school buildings (including extensions of current schools if the number of pupils rise), to replace old buildings, and similar tasks. Schools receive money from the government to maintain the buildings (both inside as well as exterior building maintenance). Maintenance of current buildings therefore is a task of the school board. Having said that, the ChristenUnie is in favour of making the buildings sustainable (reducing energy use; green energy; etc) and, if needed, the ChristenUnie is willing to support this financially.

12. New companies are welcome in Wageningen, even if this negatively affects the areas outside the city

Redevelopment of obsolete industrial sites (for example, the Nudepark 1 site) is preferable to development of new industrial sites (for example, Nudepark 2). At present, there are still vacancies in the Nudepark 1 site. Therefore, extension of industrial sites in the outer parts of Wageningen is not recommended. Extension possibilities do exist on Wageningen Campus, in particular the Born Oost site. Upon further development of Campus sites, the ChristenUnie emphasis the need to maintain and preferably improve the ecological zone between the areas Binnenveld and Eng. To reduce the ecological footprint, any new site should be climate neutral.

13. The buildings aesthetics committee, that reviews requests for building adaptations by home owners, needs to be abolished

The local Planning Authority (CRK; evaluates urban aesthetics of building developments) has an important role to evaluate (in broad outlines) construction plans on the impact building adaptations have on the environment. However, this committee should not deal with details as has happened sometimes in the past.

14. Residents should have the opportunity to block council resolutions (corrective referendum)

In complex political issues, advisory referenda do not provide a sound contribution. A referendum is not legally binding, and this may result in confusion and resentment. Besides, the city councillors have been chosen and appointed to make deliberate choices taking into account several conflicting interests. The members of the city council have been chosen by voters, and the members should make sometimes difficult decisions.

15. The dog tax must be abolished

If the annual dog tax is abolished, the municipality will have to find other funds to cover the loss of income and to maintain the present cleaning standard to remove dog crap in public places. According to the ChristenUnie, the current progressive tax rate (the rate for the second and subsequent dog is greater than that for the first dog) should be abolished though.

16. School swimming needs to be introduced, even if the municipality has to financially support this

It is vital that every child knows how to swim at the final year of the primary school. Wageningen is next to the Rhine and besides, there are many open waters, e.g. the city moat, the 'Rooseveltsingel', the ponds in the surrounding of the 'Vredehorst', the 'Hooilandplein' and also the park at the 'Mondriaanlaan' en the ditches in the 'Binnenveld'. The ChristenUnie is adamant that youngsters learn and maintain the skill of swimming and are able to stay safe in and around water.

17. The municipality should allocate extra money to connect nature reserves in the outskirts of Wageningen

The ‘Binnenveld’ is a transitional area between the ‘Utrechtse Heuvelrug’ and the ‘Veluwe’. The connection between these nature areas is via an ecological zone, next to and partially being part of Wageningen Campus area. Moreover, the Binnenveld is a noise abatement zone and it is of prime importance to many farmland and migratory birds. The ChristenUnie disagrees with degradation of these areas including the Binnenveld, and firmly rejects new road infrastructures in these areas.

18. At least 30% of the new-builds have to be social housing

Social housing is important. It is not only about social housing, but affordable housing is also needed - houses with a garden for, among others, starters (young families, graduates).

19. The municipality should oppose the development of a ring road around the campus

The ChristenUnie does not want the Binnenveld to be affected by new roads. The maximum speed should be 60 km/h. A new ring road is not required. New roads increase congestion, by creating more demand. The ring road has severe negative consequences (including light, noise, pollution in that area of Wageningen). The ChristenUnie wants alternative measures to reduce the traffic burden on roads such as the Nijenoord Allee. These include more emphasis on smart mobility management of companies, transport by bicycle, stimulating public transport, and split level interchanges or flyover junctions.

20. Wageningen should cooperate more with neighbouring municipalities, even if this implies a decline of its own influence

Collaboration between municipalities, or even merging municipalities, should not be forced upon by higher authorities. In other words, the local city councils should make an informative decision on further collaboration or mergers. Wageningen already cooperates intensively with neighbouring municipalities, often very successful. Extant collaborative administration between several municipalities do require critical evaluation. The ChristenUnie is not against such collaborative administrations a priori, but individual municipalities need to retain a right to have their own policies. It is of utmost importance that the city council, being the body chosen by voters, critically evaluates all decisions of collaborative administrations in which the municipality participates. According to the ChristenUnie, the starting point is the quality of the local administration. Local administrative qualities have to be sufficient, also for any new tasks in the period of interest. If the quality is insufficient, the local city council has the sole responsibility to find solutions to improve administrative quality. The ChristenUnie does only opt for collaboration or merging if other sound solutions are not available.

21. The municipality should oblige residents to recycle all of sorts of waste

The Creator has furnished us with a large diversity of supplies, which we should not waste unnecessarily. Therefore, the ChristenUnie is in favour of careful use of materials and if possible to re-use materials. The national target for residual waste is 100 kg per person annually by 2020. Waste contains valuable resources that can often be recycled. Proper separation of household and businesses waste into useable components will encourage its re-use. The ChristenUnie emphasises the urgency to find solutions for some waste components that are at present difficult to be recycled. A main target is improved waste sorting in low-rise buildings in Wageningen, since waste sorting in these buildings is well below current standards.

22. The municipality should invest money in activities against loneliness among international students

Loneliness is an increasing problem, not only for elderly people but also for (international) students, school children, single parents, singles and many others with a small social network. A human being is not made to be alone; to function well, contact with others is needed. There needs to be a plan to prevent and fight social isolation. Concerning international students, the university (WUR) is the first one responsible for them. The municipality and the WUR can tackle this problem together. Doctors, teachers, trainees, deacons and caregivers do have an important signalling function.

23. Student accomodations need to be spread out over the region, instead of being concentrated in Wageningen

For the coming years, there are already several plans to increase the student houses. If the demand for student housing continues to increase, then the region outside Wageningen (including Bennekom and Ede) may be asked to accommodate more students. We cannot use every empty site in Wageningen to establish housing for this target group (students) only.

24. The municipality should allocate more money to reduce travel time of outgoing public transport

The municipality must continue to strive for (more) direct connections of the Campus with the train stations Ede-Wageningen, Rhenen and Arnhem. Public transport is a responsibility of the province, and the province also pays the bus companies for regional transport. A contribution from the municipality may be necessary to evaluate whether these connections are good enough.

25. In order to take environmental measures, taxes are allowed to be raised

The ChristenUnie fully supports the goal of Wageningen achieving climate neutrality by 2030. This is a huge challenge, and it requires lots of efforts (financial and non-financial) of all involved: local government, residents, organisations and businesses. For example, in all buildings in which natural gas is used for heating and cooking purposes, alternative (climate neutral) energy commodities have to be installed. Green energy alternatives, including geothermal heat energy, need to be actively developed. The ChristenUnie would like the local government to stimulate several initiatives that enable neighbourhoods to remove natural gas reliance completely.

26. If the healthcare allowance from the national government is insufficient, the municipality should complement it from its own resources

Within legal possibilities, the municipality provides generous financial support in special situations. Regulations for low income households should be actively promoted, as much as possible. Everyone matters, and should have the opportunity to participate in our society. If the central government does not provide enough money to enable people to function at a satisfactory level in society, then the funds of the municipality must be added to central government funds, whereby the municipality cannot make unlimited adjustments.

27. The municipality should oblige people on income support to do services to the benefit of society in return

The ChristenUnie supports the experiment with the social security payment, based on more trust (a basic income type scheme). The current focus is rather one-sided on outflow to work. The ChristenUnie is definitely not against outflow to a paid job, but we are also realistic. For example, at an age of 55+ and having received social security payment already for a while, then finding a job is getting more and more difficult. Motivation to look for a job is low, if it is just to fulfil the official requirements to receive income support, without any realistic prospects on a paid job. This experiment not only examines whether a different approach leads to more outflow of social assistance, but also whether it leads to better well-being (and therefore less healthcare costs and also space for long-term ideas) and whether or not to do (more) voluntary work. The ChristenUnie would like to see other ways of involvement in the society, as a volunteer for a sports club, association, church or school. This commitment also deserves appreciation from politics and society.

28. The municupality should invest in a new music venue, even if this means that taxes will have to rise

The ChristenUnie focuses on active, participatory involvement of Wageningen residents in arts. Artistic and cultural education (classes on amongst others singing, dancing, music, and fine art) should be attainable for every resident. This requires a renewed pooling of creative individuals and organizations, now that cultural centre ‘t Venster unfortunately went bankrupt in 2017. De ChristenUnie is not against a new music venue at the so-called ‘culture Plantsoen’ (a pool of several art related individuals and organizations, aiming to be accommodated at the Plantsoen - a street in Wageningen centre). However, this initiative requires a sound budget scheme, and the initiative should be primarily focused on active participation of Wageningen residents.

29. Bar and club owners in the municipality of Wageningen should decide their own closing times

Many Wageningen residents live in the city centre. The centre should remain a viable area to live. Implementing more flexible opening hours for licensed premises may result in increased levels of noise pollution spread throughout the night, and will have negative impact on the city centre residents. The present closing times are satisfactory. At present, customers may stay in the premise after closing time for some time, whilst new customers are not allowed to enter.

30. The growth of Wageningen needs to be restricted

We do not want to expand further at the expense of the 'Binnenveld', 'Eng' and 'Uiterwaarden'. Wageningen has to remain a liveable, viable city in dense areas of the municipality. We cannot develop every empty site for housing. After the final phase of 'Kortenoord' and the new implementation of 'Duivendaal' and the 'Dreijen', Wageningen has achieved its maximum growth. New construction mainly takes place through limited further densification. However, there must be enough space for green areas and playgrounds; Wageningen has to remain a liveable city.

Give your faith a voice, vote ChristenUnie!