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Yes to temporary use and spatial planning for the “tower”

Politics

Yes to the revitalization of the “Zum Turm” property: the Wiler city parliament approves loans of half a million francs

A music school is to be built in the former fire brigade depot in Wil, and there will also be rooms for the public and clubs. Parliament approved the funds for further action on Thursday evening after the FDP rejected an application for rejection.

A culture and music school center is planned in the former fire department depot in Wil.

Photo: Sabrina Manser

Rooms for clubs, «opportunity rooms», a «public living room» and a music school. All of this is to be accommodated in the vacant property “Zum Turm” on Tonhallenstrasse in Wil. The building, which the city acquired five years ago, has been mostly empty ever since. The ideas are still pie in the sky. But they get more specific. Because the Wiler city parliament approved three loans for the revitalization of the property at yesterday evening’s meeting.

First, the former fire brigade depot is to be released for temporary use. 100,000 francs are needed for this. In addition, a spatial program for the municipal music school is to be developed for 35,000 francs. Parliament also approved CHF 430,000 for structural adjustments to improve the property.

Rejection of the FDP is rejected

It had already become apparent in advance that the motions would cause debate in Parliament. Because the FDP had announced that they did not want to talk about any further loans for the tower. The reason: It must first be clarified which owner wants to operate the property for what purpose and what costs the city will incur in the short and long term. That was also the reason why Freisinn submitted an application for rejection.

Urs Etter, FDP city parliamentarian

Urs Etter, FDP city parliamentarian

Image: PD

Already at this point the waves went up. Urs Etter from the FDP, who submitted the request for rejection, said it was the worst prepared template that was presented to Parliament. Interim use is not recommended. Because one is already in such a situation and this is not expedient. A long-term use should be aimed for. Alternatives should also be examined.

Party colleague Claudio Altwegg added: “We also want the property to no longer be empty, but there are still too many question marks.” You have to handle the loan responsibly, also in view of the city’s financial situation.

“We have no clarity as to what will come out.”

All against the FDP

But the FDP was almost entirely alone in this. Erwin Böhi from the SVP pointed out that a rejection would only lead to further delays and that the former fire brigade depot would remain empty for longer. For Timo Räbsamen (Juso), innovative solutions are possible through an open call for tenders. In addition, you can gain experience for long-term use with interim use.

Sebastian Koller, city parliamentarian, Green Prowil

Sebastian Koller, city parliamentarian, Green Prowil

Image: PD

Sebastian Koller (Green Prowil), who once pushed for the revitalization of the property with a motion, said:

“The tower should not stand empty until it is used. That’s why interim use makes sense.”

And for this temporary use, a basic upgrade is needed. It was not clear to him why the FDP wanted to reject the whole deal and still strived for end use. “We miss an opportunity and go back to square one if we reject the application,” said Christoph Gehrig (Die Mitte).

City councilor and head of the building department, Ursula Egli, said: “Without money, we can’t continue and we can’t work out the spatial planning.” After several requests to speak, the application for rejection was finally clearly rejected.

A clear majority approved the funds

Only then did the actual discussion on the submission begin. It quickly became apparent that the FDP would have no chance here either. The three credits were each clearly spoken. In addition to the FDP representatives, only a few rejected the planning funds.

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