Leefbaarheidsadviseurs in de startblokken

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“Een gemeente die dichtbij wil staan, moet zichtbaar zijn”

WESTERKWARTIER – Ze zijn onderweg, de leefbaarheidsadviseurs van de gemeente Westerkwartier. Daar waar het college tot de zomer de tijd heeft genomen om alle dorpen te bezoeken, is er de adviseurs alles aan gelegen om sneller kennis te maken met inwoners, verenigingen en groeperingen. “Twee maanden”, denkt Jolanda Baudoin (links op de foto) nodig te zijn. “We zullen het college van b en w vergezellen bij hun bezoekjes, maar er ook alvast zelf op uit trekken.” Het team stelt zich zelf alvast voor, naast Jolanda zijn ook Niels Scholtens (rechts) en Rita Hulst op weg in het Westerkwartier. Het team wordt gecompleteerd door dorpencontactfunctionaris Monika de Vries, die de contacten met alle 41 dorpen zal onderhouden.

“Tussen ons drieën is een mooie verdeling gemaakt”, vindt Rita die de Zuidhorner dorpen, aangevuld met het gebied Middag in haar portefeuille heeft. “Zonder de ‘zijlen’”, duidt ze, “want Kommerzijl, Niezijl, Lauwerzijl en Pieterzijl zijn naar Niels gegaan. Samen met de dorpen uit de voormalige Grootegast houdt hij zich op in het noordelijk Westerkwartier, terwijl Jolanda ten zuiden van de A7 haar werkterrein heeft. Niels: “Al zal het voor de dorpen snel duidelijk worden welke leefbaarheidsadviseur aan welk dorp toebehoort. De meeste dorpsbelangenverenigingen zijn inmiddels benaderd voor een kennismaking. Uiteraard gaan we ervoor zorgen dat we zo snel mogelijk in elk dorp zijn langs geweest. Die twee maanden die Jolanda ten doel heeft gesteld is haalbaar.”

De functie leefbaarheidsadviseur klinkt mooi en is ook nieuw in het Westerkwartier. Rita: “De gemeente is groter geworden, maar wil wél dicht bij de inwoners staan. Dat staat ook beschreven in het DNA, waarbij de D staat voor dichtbij. Als je dichtbij wil zijn, moet je wel zorgen voor verbindende functionarissen. Mensen die aanwezig zijn in de dorpen en die de inwoners ook weten te vinden als er wat speelt.” De oren en ogen van de gemeente in de dorpen, vat Rita het samen. “Daarnaast zijn wij ook de schakel tussen de dorpen –en de wijken in de grotere dorpen- en de gemeente”, vult Jolanda aan. Als eerste gaan de adviseurs in kaart brengen welke wensen en behoeften er leven in de dorpen. “Dat kan per dorp verschillen”, meent Rita. “Het ene dorp heeft meer nodig dan het andere dorp. Het ene dorp regelt ook meer zelf. Wat wij doen is kijken hoe we de leefbaarheid in elk dorp goed kunnen houden, en waar nodig en mogelijk verbeteren.” De eerste dorpen, waaronder Feerwerd en Garnwerd, zijn inmiddels bezocht door het college van burgemeester en wethouders. Rita: “Daar is enthousiast gereageerd op wat er speelt en hoe dit is ingericht.” De bezoeken vinden voornamelijk plaats in de late namiddag en de avonduren. “Dat is onderdeel van deze functie”, duidt Niels. “Als je, zoals wij, in gesprek gaat met dorpsbelangenverenigingen dan heb je het vaak over vrijwilligers. Mensen met een baan die overdag geen tijd hebben. Nou, dan komen wij gewoon naar het dorp toe als iedereen vrij is. Geen probleem en dus geen 9 tot 5 mentaliteit. Al moet ik zeggen dat er ook in de voormalige gemeenten al gewerkt werd in de avonduren. Een hele grote verandering is het niet. Als je zichtbaar wilt zijn moet je er zijn wanneer het er toe doet.” Jolanda: “Dorpsbelangenverenigingen worden nu genoemd, maar dat is natuurlijk maar één ingang. Wij zullen ook contact zoeken en in gesprek gaan met andere groepen. Neem in mijn geval Marum, waar je een grote Molukse gemeenschap hebt. Daar zal ook mee gesproken worden om te kijken wat er leeft in die gemeenschap en waar zij behoefte aan hebben.”

Het is anders dan de inwoners van de vier voormalige Westerkwartiergemeenten gewend zijn. Daar waar vroeger de gemeente bepaalde wat goed was voor de inwoners, wordt er tegenwoordig meer input verwacht van de inwoners. De inwoner onderneemt, de overheid faciliteert. “Waar mogelijk”, houdt Jolanda een slag om de arm. “Nee is soms ook een antwoord. Je moet altijd kijken naar wat er echt nodig is, wat realistisch is en of het onder aan de streep betaald kan worden. Al gaan we natuurlijk wel kijken naar alternatieven, want de uitgesproken behoefte komt ergens vandaan. Daar zullen we toch iets mee moeten doen.” Een parkeergarage voor Niezijl zit er waarschijnlijk niet in, maar verder is veel mogelijk. “Tenminste, als de inwoners er zelf ook achter staan”, stelt Rita. “Laat ik het multifunctionele centrum van Grijpskerk als voorbeeld pakken. Daar hebben de inwoners zelf de schouders eronder gezet, een dorpscoöperatie opgericht, vrijwilligers georganiseerd en fondsen aangeschreven.” Daar waar de gemeente kan helpen kunnen de adviseurs een rol spelen in het mobiliseren van de juiste afdelingen binnen de organisatie.

Het doel is duidelijk. De leefbaarheidsadviseurs willen zichtbaar zijn in de dorpen. Niels: “Het zou mooi zijn als we straks een jaar verder zijn en onze inwoners ons moeiteloos weten te vinden en we onderdeel zijn van de dorpen. En andersom geldt dat ook. Dat de medewerkers van de gemeente ons weten te vinden als ze iets uit een dorp of een gemeenschap willen hebben. Als wij de gemeente en de inwoners weten te verbinden doen we het goed. Het is aan ons om zaken bij elkaar te brengen zodat het elkaar kan versterken.” Aan enthousiasme geen gebrek, merken wij op. “We hebben er inderdaad zin in”, laat Rita weten. “De start was voortvarend en nu gaan we doorpakken. Zelf ben ik ook inwoner van deze gemeente. Ik woon en leef hier, voel mij betrokken en vind het belangrijk dat de gemeente dichtbij wil zijn.” Jolanda vult aan: “We gaan er iets goeds en moois van maken. Samen op weg naar 41 schitterende en leefbare dorpen.”

Wie is de leefbaarheidsadviseur in uw dorp?

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