German archipelago residents vote against land bridge | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 27.06.2011
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German archipelago residents vote against land bridge

Residents of the small German archipelago of Helgoland have rejected a plan to reconnect two islands with a bridge of reclaimed land. But, the island may yet grow in size with an alternative plan to boost population.

Helgoland and its smaller neighbor Düne seen from the air

The islands were connected until a storm in 1720

In a vote on Sunday, residents of the German North Sea archipelago of Helgoland voted against a land reclamation plan that would have reunited the main island with a smaller neighboring island.

Island inhabitants voted by a majority of 54.7 percent against the project aimed at boosting tourism, while 45.3 percent supported it.

A total of 1,068 of 1,312 residents voted in the referendum, described in a statment released by the island community's mayor, Jörg Singer, as "a matter close to the heart" of the population.

A voting paper

A total of 1,068 out of 1,312 residents took part in the vote

The land bridge, which would have been several hundred meters long, was to have been set aside for the building of several new hotels as well as a beach.

Other options to be explored

In his statement, Singer said the community would look at other ways to promote "sustainable and forward-looking development," adding that other forms of land reclamation would be examined.

Opponents of the scheme feared overdevelopment would destroy the character of the islands, which were connected by land until a storm in 1720.

The main island of Helgoland is home to the island's population while the smaller island, known as Düne, is not permanently inhabited.

A recent development study found that the former British territory, ceded to Germany in 1890, needed to increase its permanent population to 1,500 if it were to remain viable.

Author: Richard Connor: (AFP, dpa)

Editor: Martin Kuebler

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