New wildlife shelter in jeopardy due to budget cuts by the municipality of Den Helder

There will be no new animal shelter or wildlife shelter at De Helderse Vallei in Den Helder for the time being. At least, if the municipality’s austerity plans continue. With a laundry list of budget proposals, the municipal council hopes to balance the budget for the coming years. “Such a shame.”

Photo: squirrel – Wild Shelter De Paddestoel / Ruth Kraak

“That means we can’t build in 2025?” Katelijne van Spronsen from the Helderse Vallei breathes a deep sigh. The municipality is postponing the new construction until at least after 2026. “I’m shocked. That would be a waste of all the efforts that are now being made for the new construction. The project leader is busy, an application is pending with the province. Such a shame. “

Preparations for a new wildlife sanctuary have been going on for years. Three years ago there should already be something in collaboration with De Helderse Vallei. The plans have been postponed time and time again, much to the dismay of the current De Paddestoel wildlife sanctuary. The bird shelter was hit by a falling branch and there turned out to be asbestos in the already very outdated building. The shelter now has another temporary home.

“We are losing confidence that things will turn out well”

Ben Reiff – De Paddestoel wildlife sanctuary

In January this year, things seemed to be moving again, after support from the council for the new building. Only the province wanted clarity. Chairman Ben Reiff of De Paddelstoel: “Apart from my disappointment, because I have been working on it for six years, but this is a serious failure of governments and not only the municipality of Den Helder, but also the province. There is a package of information for a permit. , but we haven’t heard anything about it yet.”

Reiff: “I also understand that in a time of poverty the question arises whether it is responsible to spend this kind of money on a wildlife sanctuary. But I also stand for the animals. So far we have received the green light from the council every time, every a resounding ‘yes’, but necessity breaks laws. I do wonder whether it makes sense to continue with temporary shelter, given the costs.”

Photo: Temporary space of bird shelter and wildlife shelter De Paddestoel – NH

A meeting is planned for next month with, among others, the project leader and the architect for the new wildlife shelter. Reiff: “We are in the middle of the preparations. It is already costing a lot of money and that will be a waste of money if the council decides to postpone the new construction. I am always very optimistic, but I fear that a postponement is a cancellation. We are losing out. trust that things will turn out well and it is also not good for the morale of the employees.”

Ultimately, it is up to the municipal council to decide whether or not there will be a new construction for the wildlife shelter. Ben Reiff becomes despondent: “They now know everything from A to Z and if they have any questions they know where to find me.” Katelijne van Spronsen of De Helderse Vallei is also concerned: “That will involve lobbying again and it takes so much energy. It is such a great plan for the city with so much added value for volunteers, for the animals, for the city.”

In order to make the multi-year budget for the municipality as balanced as possible, the council is making the following proposals for cuts, which should take effect in 2026:

  • Subsidies for social participation and social activation structurally reduce refugees and minorities;
  • Postpone the realization of the wildlife shelter in De Helderse Vallei;
  • Structurally reduce the money available for urban renewal;
  • Close the Youth Point;
  • Structurally reduce the money for ‘Den Helder energy neutral’;
  • Reducing the budget for subsidized work for the elderly, which concerns the district-oriented offer for independently living elderly people;
  • Introducing paid parking for motor vehicles at locations and times to be determined.

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