In 1998 the city council of Amsterdam Westerpark decided to slice off a piece of the Westerpark and promise the land to Mobil for the purpose of building a gas station. Later BP / Amoco, which is now BP Connect, took over the contract.
In fact, the council was out of its mandate at that time. It made an undemocratic decision, because new elections had already been held and the majority of the newly elected parties were in favour of keeping the park undamaged.
The deal immediately caused uproar in the Westerpark region, and is now (AD 2004) even more unaccepable.
The (virtual) money involved in the deal was put to good use, for example a children's zoo and some adjustments in the park were financed by it. The real money however came from the community.
Our grounds to reject the petrol station plan:
1. The undemocratic way in which was decided to change the development plan status from a park into a business area.
2. The area is part of an authentic 12th century landscape: the Spaarndammerdijk.
This type of landscape has become exceedingly rare in Amsterdam.
3. There is enough space for BP in the Amsterdam Harbour region.
4. If build, the petrol station would be on the wrong side of the road, namely on the road leading to Amsterdam.
People usually want to fuel petrol on their outbound trip.
5. At a stone's throw is the Buurtboerderij www.buurtboerderij.nl.
This spot is a peaceful and quiet earth bound meeting place where the people of the neighbourhood have a chance to refresh their senses.
The peace would be violated unacceptably by the prescence of a petrol station.
6. Pony club Spaarndam, which is partly situated on the site where the petrol station is planned, would be effectively put out of business if the petrol station would be build.
Consequently, children who have found an inner balance by riding the horses would suffer terribly if their pastime would be destroyed.
This should be reason enough to withhold a plan like this!
7. There is the human-induced greenhouse effect. Why should trees move for the greenhouse-enhancing petrol industry?
8. The lovely yelow back striped toad, bufo calamita, which enjoys the highest protection by European Law was here before BP, first comes first served.
Right from the start, inhabitants of Westerpark appealed to several governmental agencies. Because of unfamiliarity with the idiom of governmental language it was hard to get some points through. An important event has been the law suit in the autumn of 2002. "Stichting Groene Reael" (green real estate foundation) won against city council Westerpark. The judge said: “the council had just looked greedily at the bag of money held before them”.
This lawsuit forced the council to aply for a “ontheffing” (permit to break the Flora an Fauna law) from a government agency. This was hastely given but on October 7th 2003 continued pressure by BPNee! resulted in the withdrawl of a permit. This resulted was obtained mainly by handing over the statements by three ecologists who confirmed the presence of a population of the protected toads.
Our actions continue to protect the 8 big trees and the 100 smaller trees in the area from the chainsaw.
Currently, we are a Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) working group.
We participate in globalists movements and keep ourselves informed about actions in Europe and the UK by Risingtide ( www.risingtide.nl www.risingtide.org.uk ). We monitor BP advertisment campaigns, If we discover any bending of the truth or blatant lies we will question the advertisements in court.
The press has been very friendly to us (persberichten/index.html ). This is just an excerpt of all the coverage we had.
"BP business integrity."
We managed to get in contact with BP's management in Holland. As BP advertises itself as being eco-friendly we had high hopes for an environmental (green) solution. BP asked us to help them to find another habitat for the yellow back-striped toad. We might agree to this, only after we have exhausted all our juridical and PR strategies. Another location would have to be an industrial complex to be demolished and given back to nature. Otherwise it would not be "Real Nature Compensation" and accordingly no option.
To check whether BP holds to words we acquire information about this company. Greenpeace carefully watches the activities of BP's daughter Northstar. This company, namely, is the first offshore drilling facility in the Arctic Ocean.
Further info: http://archive.greenpeace.org/~climate/arctic99/html/content/default.html
A lot of action has been done already.
Flyers were handed out at a BP petrol station nearby, it was striking that all the drivers objected to a petrol station at the tree location.
Further, we arranged a "going to the frogs" concert in our park. We have nice fundraising meals together. We campaigned at our local council. A nice song was recorded. And we participated in the 2002 Milieudefensie Johannisburg manifestation.
If necessary, we will march with the ponies of Pony club Spaarndam in front of BP's HQ in Rotterdam.
However, other actions together with Groen Front! / Earth First! ( www.groenfront.nl ) and many other options are still open to us.
Tree-tipi's ( boomhut.html ) are in stock. If necessary, we will get into the trees to convince BP to stay out of our forest! In no time we can attract a lot of attention for the trees who cannot speak for themselves.
BP Nee! www.bpnee.nl
Last updated March 14th 2004