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Javastraat trees saved - for a while

Alex van Veen

26 January 2008 - Last Thursday morning, environmental activists succeeded in temporarily stopping the Javastraat trees being cut. The Council of State has now approved the cutting of the trees, which is expected to take place next Monday.

In a skilful manner, activists climbed the threatened elms around nine in the morning, after which they hung a banner saying ‘Cut the Cutting’ across the Javastraat. At some distance, tree fellers were already standing by apparently ready to start cutting the trees, despite the Zeeburg district having promised to await the Council of State ruling.

Local residents affiliated to Groen en Blauw, which has fought for years against the cutting of some seventy healthy trees in the Javastraat, had brought the case before the Council of State last Thursday. The council reached a decision at an unprecedented speed. Zeeburg chairman Nico Salm was present at the Council of State session and promised that the district would await the council’s ruling.

The Indische buurt needs a ‘boost’, according to Zeeburg’s policy makers. The ‘smudgy character’ of the Javastraat, the most important shopping street of the neighbourhood, must be turned into a ‘Mediterranean shopping promenade’ and a pleasant place to be, alderman Dennis Straat (VVD) said at an information meeting at the district office in October 2006.

The renewal places date back to the 1990s, but have been speeded up now that the European Commission is contributing two-thirds of the funding. Contrary to the original 2004 plan - in which there would be one-way traffic and the elms would be saved - the district council has now decided to stick with two-way traffic, introduce parking alongside the sidewalk and to replace the trees.

Last week, the district administration announced that it would start cutting 34 trees and moving 36 to the neighbouring Benkoelenstraat and Langkatstraat. This decision was taken after an appeal against the cutting had been overturned.

On 14 January, the Amsterdam Court ruled that the district administration has reached its decision in a careful manner and can therefore cut the trees. The same judge also denied a request to postpone the cutting. The opponents thereupon turned to the Council of State, which dealt with the case on 24 January.

This article was originally published at Ravage Digitaal. Photo: Vesu / Indymedia. Council of State report; Groen en Blauw (all in Dutch)


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