Single vote axes €76m Utrecht library

CDA board member, Cees Bos, tilted the scale Monday evening with a deciding vote, during the voting for a 76 million euro project for a new library, a movie theatre and 100 starter apartments in Utrecht, wiping it off the table. The complex was supposed to rise next to the Central Station.

The project has been under fire from the start. The original project was destined to fail when GroenLinks spoke out against it in November. The City council changed the plans just enough to gain the votes of D66 and ChristenUnie, making it a narrow majority.

Busstation_Utrecht CS
Ramon Vasconcellos

The VVD, Leefbaar Utrecht, SP, and GroenLinks think it irresponsible to spend this much money on a project as prestigious as this in a time of crisis. CDA, PvdA, D66, and ChristenUnie however think the city needs a multimedia library this size.

When it came time to vote, it soon became clear that something was amiss in the coalition, when the CDA asked for a suspension, that kept being extended. CDA board member Bos had changed his mind and could not be persuaded to change his mind again, no matter how hard several of the other parties tried. The votes were cast and Bos sided with the opposition, choosing the GroenLinks proposal.

In the GroenLinks proposal the library will be located in existing, vacant buildings, such as the former post office on the Neude, or the soon to be vacant Tivoli building. The coalition thinks those sites will turn out to be more expensive for less space.