Argument in the Oldiekflat in Delfzijl: chairman of the residents’ association must leave. ‘Total idiocy’

The games and craft supplies have been swept off the table in the Oldiekflat in Delfzijl. Housing association Acantus and the residents’ association are at loggerheads. “Playing the cloverjacks was my favorite moment of the week.”

A white sign with the inscription ‘Ons Honk’ decorates the front door of house number 244 on the ninth floor of the Oldiekflat in Delfzijl. Residents played club, shuffleboard and made crafts there every day. But it has been quiet in the base for a week now. A bulk of empty thermos flasks sit unused on the kitchen table as a reminder of happier times.

The base was donated by Acantus to the residents’ association decades ago for use without obligation. Some apartment residents have difficulty walking, so the apartment on the ninth floor is easily accessible for them thanks to the elevator. But after a conflict between the residents’ association and housing association Acantus, the activities stopped.

‘I was democratically elected’

Fred Bommezijn (77) was recently elected as chairman of the apartment association, but has to resign from Acantus. The reason: Bommezijn – as the only board member – has not lived in the Oldiekflat for two years. He lives with his girlfriend in a terraced house right next door. Several residents raised the alarm at Acantus after his election. They believe that all board members should live in the apartment.

Acantus initiated a discussion with the board. That was a short conversation. Bommezijn and his fellow directors walked away angrily after Acantus demanded his departure. “They immediately indicated that I had to resign personally. That surprised us. Then I said: I won’t cooperate with that. I was democratically elected by two-thirds of the members,” says Bommezijn.

‘They are shooting themselves in the fingers’

Since the conflict, all association activities have come to a standstill until the chairman leaves. To the chagrin of some residents. Willem Boer (85) misses his weekly Klaverjas evening. Farmer curses: “They shouldn’t whine like that here,” referring to his dissatisfied flatmates. “I really think it’s a shame that everything has stopped. Thursday evening was my favorite moment of the week.”

Suzan van der Pol (59) voted for Bommezijn as chairman and is upset about the apartment dispute. “What I know is that a few ladies have clicked with Acantus because he no longer lives here. So childish. He has lived here for years and has been active as a volunteer for years, just like his girlfriend. And now it’s bumblebees. They are shooting themselves in the fingers, because now there are no more activities.”

‘You should just live here’

Bommezijn received sixteen votes in favor and ten votes against. One of the opponents wants to remain anonymous, but explains at the front door why she informed Acantus. “You should just live here, it is a residents’ association. So it is right that Acantus kicked him out. I know more people are happy with that. He had called on his card friends to vote for him and now he is angrily going to the press,” says the woman.

What will not have helped to gain sympathy from Acantus is that Bommezijn recently replaced the locks on the base. He forgot to inform the caretaker. He called Acantus angrily. “I think that was the final straw,” says treasurer Tineke Dokter (73). “It started with those ladies. They believe that Bommezijn should have nothing to say because he does not live here, but not a word was said about this at the members’ meeting.”

‘We wouldn’t have done anything without complaints’

Acantus confirms that Bommezijn has been asked to resign following the request of some residents. “There is a difference between helping out as a volunteer and being chairman of a board. If we had not received any complaints, we would not have done anything,” says communications advisor Esmee Dekker. “But we did have that and we have now acted on it.”

Secretary and vice-chairman Ben van de Ven (62) sides with his chairman. “I think it’s total idiocy. What difference does it make whether he lives here or a few houses away?” He criticizes the fact that residents knocked on Acantus’s door. “A few people are stirring things up, they want a finger in the pie.” Van de Ven thinks he has a solution. “If necessary, I will become chairman.”

‘We don’t want to take away anyone’s activities’

This solution is also obvious as far as Acantus is concerned. “We don’t want to take away anyone’s activities, but we think it is important that residents can live in the apartment without complaints. We are confident that the activities will return with a new board, or at least a new chairman,” says Dekker.

Acantus will inform all apartment residents in a letter this week about the conflict with the association board.