It is 4:30 p.m. last Monday when four police officers, three employees of the public order office and two gardeners, armed with saws and spades, arrive in the old town of Wismar (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania).
Shortly thereafter, they hunted down the opponent: the root of the illegal ivy was cut.
“He stood here for 36 years and didn’t bother anyone,” complains Klaus Redmer (76), whose house wall was covered with ivy. Because the road and sidewalk are to be renewed, the plant had to go: official order!
“The ivy never did any damage,” says Redmer. In 1992, after reunification, the street had already been renovated: “The plant wasn’t a problem there.”
The tone of the authority is getting rougher
Redmer went to sea for 50 years, in 1975 he bought the small family house in the old town of Wismar. His wife Monika (78) was his neighbor at the time, born in the house next door in 1944. It has its roots here, like the ivy.
In August 2021, authorities first contacted the Redmers: In the course of the renovation of the street, the climbing plant had to be removed. The couple disagreed: “There are also plants on the houses in the surrounding streets. Knotweed, ivy, rose bushes. And is he supposed to leave here?”
On February 7, the mail came again, this time the tone was rougher: a week’s deadline, otherwise a fine of 1,000 euros “for unauthorized special use of public street space”. Plus 560 euros for removing the ivy. Lots of wood for a retired couple.
According to a spokesman for the city of Wismar to BILD am Sonntag, the plant is “not on private property, but on a public road”. A border took up the entire width of the only 51 centimeter narrow sidewalk.
Mayor doesn’t respond
The fact that hardly anyone uses the sidewalk in the narrow alley anyway, and that most passers-by dodge onto the road, didn’t bother the red tape. The Redmers apply for a stay of execution – rejected! Redmer’s daughter asked the mayor to talk – no response!
The ivy was tolerated “as long as this was possible,” said the city spokesman on BILD am SONNTAG. The Redmers were responsible for the fact that the police had come to the uprooting: “The company was prevented from working by the residents.” Klaus Redmer filed a complaint for damage to property.
By the way: the city of Wismar spends more than 2.5 million euros a year on “maintenance and new creation of public green space”.