A neighbour who states that the new owner ‘undermines its own guiding principles'; a local council (Wijdemeren) who seems to be surprised by plans to start a ‘care hotel’ (zorghotel) in the main house, and hits back hard at an individual who opposes to the plans; a new owner who teams up with a party that presents future events in past tense.
Who said life was quiet in the Wijdemeren community?
Now there is unrest concerning Jagtlust‘s future, with fears that new owner Natuurmonumenten is trading in its principles against hard cash and an extension of its hiking path in the area. The Wijdemeren council seems to be surprised by both the plans and the protests.
What’s the story? In 2006 Jagtlust was sold to Natuurmonumenten, whose reputation in the area is good. The preservation of both natural and historical values seems to be in good hands with this organisation. The park was to be partially opened for the public, the seller was going to move into the coach house. Everybody seemed to be pleased with this situation.
A week ago plans for the ‘care hotel’ at Jagtlust were made public by Thuiszorg Gooizorg. At the same time (and conveniently mentioned in the online newspaper article), a website was presented, showing how great life at ‘Zorghotel Residentie Jagtlust‘ was going to be -and why not, they are trying to sell something.
Today that same newspaper reports on the protesting neighbour. He says Natuurmonumenten has been felling age-old trees on behalf of a new hiking path (where they could have easily used the existing paths). If true, this would contradict Natuurmonumenten‘s pledge to preserve the historical context of the park, but the organisation stresses that their work is in line with their guiding principles.
The protesting neighbour also suggests that the local council was taken by surprise and points out that the new house of the former owner is flagged as an office area in the zoning plan, which would make living there illegal.
As a response, Wijdemeren wrote a piece on their web newspaper where they say the council has not yet received official requests to amend the current zoning plan, but earlier its mayor and aldermen have advised positively on the plans by Thuiszorg Gooizorg and Natuurmonumenten. The piece ends with a rather underhand -but maybe unintentional- characterisation of Jagtlust‘s neighbour as a professional protester who lost in many cases.
So: it seems there is a lot ado about nothing, yet the way in which this conflict is fought out suggests otherwise.
One thing the local press has not picked up (again): the high-pitched protest may have been initiated by the zorghotel website. In the section called ‘Opening’ reference is made to an opening in June 2008, which was followed by an impressive official opening party in August. All texts in this section are in past tense (it is now the beginning of April 2008, so the events take place at least two months from now).
The story on the zorghotel website is obviously fake. It all looks like a playful joke. But the text leaves the impression that the zorghotel is a fait accompli. And that is not a smart move when you have only just begun to request approval for your plans.
Clumsy operating is not recommended for an organisation as highly dependent on trust as a ‘care hotel’.
In the archives: more stories on Jagtlust and Eikenrode.
Edited @ April 4, 2008 to remove a stupid mistake. Also added the image.