On 23 March 2018 a ground breaking ceremony signalled the start of decontamination works of the Banter See Park. It is the future site of the trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Center to be constructed on the currently fallow area around the bunker. The building will house the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS), an International Wadden Sea Foundation and a network hub (both currently in the planning phase), the Wadden Sea Forum and the National Park Authority Wadden Sea Lower Saxony. The ground-breaking ceremony by the Wadden Sea Board’s Chairperson Co Verdaas, Lower Saxony's Environment Minister Olaf Lies and Wilhelmshaven's Urban Planning Officer Oliver Leinert was a seminal event for the representatives of the institutions as well as for the Wadden Sea Board members currently meeting in Wilhelmshaven.
“Handling remains of the past is both a difficult task and a great challenge,” said Environment Minister Olaf Lies. “The remediation planned here paves the way for a future-oriented project that transforms the unused land with the old war bunker into a meeting place for nature and people. I have known the area since my childhood and am looking forward to making a difference in my home town of Wilhelmshaven.”
The site was home to the Bant Navy Base and is contaminated with Second World War waste. For its remediation appropriate funding for fallow land recycling has been requested from N-Bank and the Lower Saxon Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Protection. The cost of decontamination is estimated at EUR 1.8 million, EUR 730,000 of which will be funded. The City of Wilhelmshaven’s land and building agency GGS is contracted to do the decontamination works, which fall into the competency of the department of Urban Planning Officer Oliver Leinert. “The development of the Banter See Park is one of the big projects in reurbanizing our city’s southern waterfront. The rehabilitation of the site is a prerequisite not only for establishing the trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Center, but also a further step in deciding on the future use of the area.”
Photo shows representatives of the Wadden Sea Board with Chair Co Verdaas (1st row, 4th from left), the Federal State of Lower Saxony with Environment Minister Olaf Lies (5th from left) and of the City of Wilhelmshaven with Urban Planning Officer Oliver Leinert (6th from left). CWSS/ Bostelmann