City of Zug, 11.06.2024

Referendum: The Zug lakeside bathing area can be extended

Voters in Zug have approved the project loan of CHF 12.9 million with over 77 % of votes in favour. This is a clear sign in favour of the expansion of the lakeside bathing area. The work is due to start in September.

"A jewel of bathing culture"
7,504 votes in favour compared to 2,140 votes against: the property loan of CHF 12.9 million for the extension of the lakeside bathing area (Strandbad) on the Chamer Fussweg (Cham footpath) has been approved. The people of Zug have thus clearly decided in favour of extending the area. This was announced by city councillor Eliane Birchmeier, head of the building department, at a media orientation.

"With the clear yes vote, the lakeside bathing area will be more than just a lido in future," she said, adding: "It will become a lakeside park that is also accessible outside the bathing season." It was to be expected that the loan would be approved - albeit perhaps not with such clarity. With the exception of the SVP (Swiss People’s party), all the political parties in the City of Zug supported the project. The turnout was a high 58.33 %.

How part of the lakeside lido on the Cham footpath could look one day     Visualisation: zvg
Eliane Birchmeier, City Councillor Zug (FDP)           Photo: stk

"The popular Zug lakeside bathing area has become cramped, very cramped," added Eliane Birchmeier. Something can now finally be done about this. With the extension on the neighbouring Oeschwiese to the east, the facility can be more than doubled in size. Among other things, two new arch-shaped buildings with changing rooms, a new restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a sunbathing lawn of around 5,000 square metres with trees and a new bay with a sandy beach will be built in the new area.

The children's paddling pool in the existing area will be renovated and enlarged, and a shaded play area will be added. There will also be a new, year-round path connection from the harbour along the lake to the Chamer Fussweg. The catering facilities will also be adapted to this year-round use.

SVP speaks of a missed opportunity
The result of the vote was noted with approval by most parties. "The people of Zug will soon be able to enjoy a true gem of bathing culture," said Andrej Markovic from the SP (Socialist party) of the City of Zug. The referendum has once again highlighted the population's desire for a better quality of life in the city. As the "lakeside path party", the SP is also pleased about the extension of the lakeside path.

The ALG (Alternative-Green party), represented by Co-President Stefan Hodel, was also pleased about the acceptance of the project, and especially about the fact that no car parking spaces are planned in addition to two IV parking spaces.

"The extension is a successful project that not only represents an expansion, but also a successful renovation and integration of the existing facility into a new whole," said FDP (Liberal party) municipal councillor (Stadtrat) André Bliggenstorfer. It’s particularly important to the FDP that the lakeside bathing area remains accessible to the people of Zug free of charge. The FDP recently submitted a postulate to this effect.

Only the SVP took the opportunity to remind the city councillor once again why the party had campaigned for the rejection of the proposal. "We were not concerned with the matter at hand, but with fundamental issues," said Philip C. Brunner, SVP municipal councillor. It was worrying how the city was spending so much money without a second thought. The SVP is convinced that a similar project could have been realised with half the credit.

With this vote, the idea of adding an indoor swimming pool to the lido, as proposed by the SVP, was "definitely off the table," said Eliane Birchmeier. "That's a real shame," said Roman Küng, parliamentary group leader of the SVP on the municipal council. "It would have been a unique opportunity to combine the two projects."

Objection period runs until Tuesday
The planning application is already open to the public, and the construction profiles have been finalised. The objection period runs until 11 June. If no objections are received, construction work will begin as early as mid-September, says Eliane Birchmeier. "The swimming season ends on 15 September and the construction work on the site starts the day after." The first step will be to implement the bank and water engineering measures. These are necessary due to the exposed location, in order to protect the shore from high wave loads and heavy weather events.

The completion of the entire project is planned for the opening of the bathing season in May 2026. "But the existing lakeside bathing area will remain accessible throughout the 2025 bathing season," emphasised Eliane Birchmeier. Despite the construction site, nothing else now stands in the way of swimming fun - weather permitting (!)