Almost two thirds of those eligible to vote in Nidwalden are in favor of state participation in Buochs airfield. The voting campaign caused quite a stir.
Some people in the canton of Nidwalden may have been happy that the vote finally took place on Sunday. For weeks, the question of whether the canton should participate in investments for the civil use of Buochs airfield caused an emotional debate. In advertisements, leaflets and letters to the editor, opponents and supporters discussed intensively whether it was the canton's responsibility to participate in a civilian airfield.
Government is satisfied
Given the fire with which the voting campaign was conducted, the clear result of the ballot is surprising. 66,4 percent of those entitled to vote supported a property loan of 10 million francs. A clear yes came from all eleven communities. The results from the communities directly affected were eagerly awaited. Buochs (69 percent) as well as Ennetbürgen and Stans with 58 percent each did not differ too much from the rest of the canton in their voting behavior. The voter turnout was 49,6 percent.
The Nidwalden government was pleased with the very clear result in all communities. The canton's role in the airport's transformation process has now been clarified following this decision. “The canton retains a 50 percent stake in the former military airfield. This means he can have a direct say in future developments and have an influence,” emphasized Economics Director Othmar Filliger (cvp.). The population has recognized that this is necessary given the great economic importance of this infrastructure.
The interest group for moderate airfield use in Nidwalden, which had fought the proposal primarily for financial policy reasons, was disappointed on Sunday. Co-President Albert Gabriel did not expect success at the ballot box, but he had hoped for a better result in the surrounding communities. “Ultimately, the deciding factor was the argument about jobs, which would supposedly have been at risk if the vote had been no,” explains Gabriel. It is a shame that a counter-proposal put forward by opponents was not voted on. The clear result will of course be accepted.
The discussions continue
The canton of Nidwalden can now contribute 10 million francs to the modernization of Buochs airfield. With a further 10 million francs from Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG, the share capital of the airport operator Airport Buochs AG increases by 20 million francs. These funds are intended to finance the necessary investments in basic infrastructure such as slopes, buildings and security.
Further discussions about the former military airfield, which is mainly used by the Pilatus aircraft works, are foreseeable. The various interest groups will assert their claims at the latest after the start of the issuing process. The issue of Buochs airfield will not leave the canton of Nidwalden so quickly.