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Wingene and Ruiselede launch joint merger website, referendum not on the agenda: "Population is divided over which partner is best, so we had to choose anyway" |  wingen

Wingene and Ruiselede launch joint merger website, referendum not on the agenda: “Population is divided over which partner is best, so we had to choose anyway” | wingen

Ruiselede / WingeneWingene and Ruiselede, which will live life as a single municipality from 2025, have a joint website ready to merge. In addition, everyone will soon receive their first compact newspaper in the mail. According to the two mayors, the referendum, something the opposition is defending in both municipalities, is not on the agenda. “A referendum is limited to a yes/no answer,” Great De Roe said. “We prefer to choose other forms of engagement that leave more room for nuance and debate.”

Read all about Wingene and Ruiselede’s merger plans (and the consequences) in our dossier

on the site www., where house patterns can be identified in both municipalities, in the first place answers to frequently asked questions from residents are provided. The reasons for the merger will be discussed, as well as the financial implications of the merger, the impact on services, and the question of whether citizens will participate in the plans. Anyone can ask questions about integration themselves via the site. “We understand that the news regarding the merger plans came quickly and unexpectedly,” says Greet De Roo (RKD) van Ruiselede. “At this point, in which we are comparing the administrative authority of the two municipalities, we want to make every effort to inform residents of the merger.”

no referendum

Almost after the merger plans were announced, the opposition Reslade party shouted for a referendum, because the citizen had no say in choosing a merger partner. On the Wingense side, the opposition party N-VA shared this view. In addition, a survey conducted by Respect (with 400 titles) showed that 94 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the way the merger would happen. But if it depends on the two mayors, there will be no referendum. “We understand the call for participation, but the poll is limited to a yes/no question,” says de Roux. “We prefer to choose other forms of participation that leave more room for nuance and debate. In our opinion, the fusion story is necessary and best done with a similar and equal partner. Opinions are divided among the population about which partner is best, so the choice had to be made anyway.”

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Integration newspaper in every mailbox

Although all the information is bundled together on the merger website, every Ruiselede and Wingene resident will also have their first merger newspaper in their mailbox at the beginning of July. In this way, municipalities want to ensure that every resident is informed and has an opportunity to ask questions. The management strength analysis will be submitted to the two municipal councils in the fall of 2022, after which the merger will actually begin.

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