Column Vincent Oostvogels: Asphalt

There is an increasing amount of asphalt on the campus. Why?

Text: Vincent Oostvogels

There have been concerns about the increasing amount of asphalt on the campus for years. There was an outcry when the bus lane was created in 2014, and another about the cycle path to Aurora. To create that cycle path, WUR felled 14 trees in the Dassenbosje wood last January; in June, part of the pond at Zodiac was filled in; and in August part of the protected hedgerow along the Bornsesteeg was removed. The plan is to extend the cycle path as far as Dijkgraaf, which will mean filling in part of the pond behind the Mondriaanlaan bus stop. Local residents have posted angry tweets about that cycle path, I saw. WUR responded with a story about the importance of good infrastructure.

Which is true, of course. Why don’t those people get that? Always whingeing about flora and fauna, protected landscape elements, a green environment… sigh. Anyway, there’s no problem because WUR always makes sure it thoroughly compensates for loss of nature. Just look at the saplings and shrubs to the south-west of the Dassenbosje, which were planted to compensate for the large, mature oaks felled for the bus lane some time back. Maybe some of that new vegetation will have to give way to the new section of cycle path, but hey – we can compensate for that too.

Asphalt will keep on coming on campus

Let’s be honest here. Asphalt will keep on spreading across the campus. Good infrastructure is very important and there is no other way to achieve that. So WUR might as well put a stop to the whingeing in one fell swoop. Away with that old Dassenbosje, away with that protected hedgerow and all those ponds – just asphalt the whole lot. Put in a few plant containers to compensate – but make sure they are on wheels. Then you can move them as soon as they get in the way.

Vincent Oostvogels (25) is in the first year of his PhD research on biodiversity restoration on dairy farms. He dreams of being able to keep a few cows himself one day.

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