It has been a while since we last informed about the status of the realization of Hospice Amsteloever in Amstelveen. The reason for this is that a lot has happened in the recent period and the developments have followed each other quickly! In this newsletter, we would like to inform you about what has happened in the past period, including the latest situation.
Where were we again? Last time we informed you, it was all looking positive. In addition to the hospice, a new medical center and 2 small care towers will also be realized on the site on Lindenlaan. In May 2021, the municipality presented a first basic arrangement for this. On the basis of the land allocated by the municipality at the time, an architect engaged by the foundation board made a design of the hospice building, which was finally approved after various consultations with the town planner and city architect.
On the basis of the approved building design and the allocated land, an “Agreement of Intent for the purchase of the building site” was drawn up, which was actually ready for signature as soon as the approval procedures applicable within the municipality had been completed. Concretely, preparations were thus made at the beginning of this year to proceed with the purchase of the necessary land, and (in consultation with the intended contractor) the goal was to “break the first stake” in August 2022.
(Photo General Assembly – 2022)
Joop Siemers promoter of the hospice and Ben Westendorp citizen member of Actief voor Amstelveen in February 2022 for the hospice’s flyer
In addition, consultations have been held at municipal level with the hospice’s fund board about a possible subsidy to cover the operating expenses of the hospice in the first years in connection with the current subsidy scheme from the public sector. Leading up to the municipal elections in March 2022, VVD and AVA declared their full support for the hospice initiative. So with full courage we continued with the realization of the hospice project!
And then came the local elections. However, immediately after the municipal elections in March 2022, we were confronted with the first reports of a change in the layout of the Lindenlaan plot. The background for this is that, in addition to the already planned realization of the health center, hospice and two small residential towers in Amstelring, a day care center must still be planned as a fourth facility on the Lindenlaan site.
In the “political” agreement developed by the 4 coalition parties entitled “Warm heart for Amstelveen; options for the future” include the following; “We make room for a new nursing home, a hospice, more nursing homes and a new general practitioner. The starting point is a valuable and respectful end of life”.
Surprise and disappointment. Despite the fact that Amstelveen Municipality has indicated in the last consultation that it considers it important that a Hospice is realized in Amstelveen in the short term, the reality of this is however “more unruly”! Unfortunately, the reality is that new construction of the hospice, regardless of whether it is integrated into the new care apartments to be built on the site, is unfortunately no longer an option for the Foundation. This in light of the expected delivery time of 3 to 5 years outlined by Amstelveen Municipality, with all the associated future financial uncertainties! This is due, among other things, to further increases in construction costs, financing interest, energy and labor costs, which are expected in the coming years.
(Source Stichting Hospice Amsteloever – 2022)
The exterior of the hospice on the design
In addition, during the last consultation with Amstelveen Municipality, a disagreement arose about the scope of the hospice. Amstelveen Municipality requires a hospice, which must be realized with 4 beds instead of the 6 beds we have budgeted for. By scaling down from 6 to 4 beds, it is also not possible for the foundation to set up a balanced financial budget in the long term! On 7 September 2022, the following 4 options for the realization of Het Hospice were discussed with the involved councilors Floor Gordon and Marijn van Ballegooijen:
-Build yourself on location, but on a smaller scale with an expected delivery time of 3-5 years;
-Integration of hospice in one of the nursing home properties to be built, also with an expected delivery time of 3 – 5 years;
-The short-term realization of an emergency building at the Lindenlaan location and
– Realization of a hospice in an existing building intended by Amstelveen Municipality
During the relevant hearing, both councilors indicated that;
– Amstelveen Municipality is still in favor of a hospice in Amstelveen;
– In that context, the municipality is also prepared to pay the operating deficit in the first 2 years to bridge the period when no or limited public subsidies are provided based on the existing national scheme;
-With the exception of the existing annual WMO payment, the municipality is not prepared to provide an additional annual subsidy;
– However, the grant is only given if it can be demonstrated that there is a solid financial budget for the hospice for the coming years
It should be noted here that Amstelveen Municipality has doubts about the feasibility of the operating budget that we previously presented. This doubt is partly due to the fact that, according to Amstelveen Municipality, there is only room for a hospice with 4 rooms. However, an investigation carried out by the board with the municipality, where discussions were not only conducted with a number of organizations involved, but also with VPTZ, showed that there is actually a need for a hospice with 6 beds in Amstelveen Municipality. .
What can the board do now? Drawing up a balanced operating budget for the coming years at this time is – as mentioned earlier in this Newsletter – impossible for the foundation board, given the current expectation that the Hospice can only be realized after 3 to 5 years.
In the coming period, there will therefore be further substantive coordination on the various options in consultation with Amstelveen Municipality, with a view to finally being able to determine whether the foundation’s realization of the hospice is still feasible. The next follow-up hearing on this at official level is scheduled for 11 October 2022.
Deadline yes or no? The board of Stichting Hospice Amsteloever has stated at its last board meeting that there must be complete clarity regarding the realization of the hospice in Amstelveen no later than January 1, 2023. If this clarity is not yet available by this date, the foundation will decide to discontinue its further initiatives with regard to the realization of a hospice in the municipality of Amstelveen and leave the realization of a hospice to other market parties.
conclusion, From 2015, there are step by step preparations for the realization of a hospice in Amstelveen. By the end of 2021, the construction of a 6-bed hospice seemed within reach, and the land purchase contracts and the construction agreement with the intended developer would be signed by the parties involved. The financing of it all had been arranged, including covering a possible increase in construction costs; in terms of utilization, constructive consultations were held with the municipal department concerned, and so what?
Change of insight and coloring at political level, newly reported procedures such as environmental permits, public participation, etc. and a corresponding delay of at least 4 years in case of any new construction. In addition to this construction delay, the discussion that has now been raised about the necessary maximum number of beds in the hospice has also “disturbed” the current initiative of the foundation to realize a hospice in Amstelveen!
It will therefore be seen in the course of the next 3 months whether the curtain will finally fall on the initiative to realize Hospice Amsteloever; the board still hopes for a positive turn in this project that has been going on for years. Going forward, the board sees only 1 possibility for the realization of Hospice Amsteloever; in an existing building in Amstelveen acceptable to all parties. Everyone understands that it is a question of renovation and furnishing in accordance with the previously established program of requirements, but the current board of the Foundation is happy to support this. It remains for us to thank everyone who has so far supported us in word and deed; Among other things, thanks to this support, we find the strength to continue on the path towards the final realization of a hospice in Amstelveen.