On March 9, 2023, VNG Gelderland published the report 'Perspective for the feathers'. The report provides a picture of the feather population in Gelderland and the development of the Feather Fund. There has been a lot of talk about the springs and a lot of research over the past four years, but the solutions were mainly pointed to each other. The report includes advice and gives an impression of the discussions. A picture of possible solutions is also outlined. The Veerpontencoalitie, consisting of ANWB, Fietsplatform, Fietsersbond, NTFU, Te Voet, Vrienden van de Veerponten and Wandelnet, will respond to the report.
Prompt commitment from the province
The Veerpontencoalitie appreciates VNG Gelderland's vision on the value and importance of ferries as set out in the report. They share the sense of urgency to urgently come to a solution for the disappearance of the Verenfonds. The report lays the foundation for a speedy solution. In the response it can be read that the coalition believes that a quick commitment from the province is needed for a next step. Further consultation with the users is also necessary.
Button model does not offer a solution but an analysis option
The VNG Gelderland investigation report comes with a number of recommendations to keep springs in Gelderland upright. A so-called 'button model' and the different roles of governments, operators and users should offer a solution. The VNG believes that contributing to the preservation of the springs serves a social interest. The Veerpontencoalitie wants to go one step further than VNG Gelderland. “We argue that the province has a clear responsibility that must be reflected in an active coordinating role that brings parties together and keeps them together. And which guarantees a structural solution to the ferry problem on the basis of the 'button model' suggested by the VNG”, says Peter Leonhart, ANWB.
The proposed model and the recommendations do not in themselves offer a solution, but an analysis model that can be used by all ferries. Marina van Dijk, Cycling platform: "The province is taking a big risk with the Gelderse ferries by putting pressure on users and riparian municipalities through the operators." The Veerpontencoalitie believes that the province of Gelderland should take its responsibility not only by taking control, but also by developing a long-term vision for the ferries. This must structurally support the ferries if it turns out that a sound operation is not possible as a result of the button model.
Affordability benchmark for heavy users
In its response, the Ferry Coalition indicates that it understands a gradual rate increase, but would like a benchmark for affordability for many users. The proposal to share the care for the ferry travel, signage, ferry stoop and decoration with the operator is still unclear to them. 'We think this is a task for the riparian municipalities. Of course in consultation with, but not together with, the operator”, says Eef Meijerman Friends of the Ferry.
Ferries are essential for a pleasant living environment
The Veerpontencoalitie states that the province must take its role and stand for the promotion of quality of life; facilitating more walking and cycling, shorter car journeys and freight and agricultural connections. This allows for more domestic and local recreation. This strengthens the local economy and facilities, health benefits from more exercise and, last but not least, the preservation of typical Gelderland cultural history.