Beunbazen lose workshop: on the hunt for a new home

It is a bittersweet year for E.S.A.V. De Beunbazen. Just last week, the student association for car enthusiasts celebrated the opening party of its first lustrum year. However, it was probably the last celebration that took place in their own workshop, as the building’s landlord has terminated their - very reasonable - lease agreement. As of 31 January, De Beunbazen will no longer have a place to call their own, and they are stuck with a considerable amount of equipment that they will have to store somewhere.

photo Privécollectie

De Beunbazen currently pay five hundred euros for their workshop, an almost inconceivably low price for a building within the Eindhoven Ring. But it is because of its location that the student association now has to start looking for a new place. Adjacent to the workshop is a residential house and its occupant is fed up with the noise and nuisance caused by the students who come there daily to work on their vintage cars, says Simon Bergman, the association’s commissioner of external affairs. “There are cars going in and out, sometimes an engine is left running for a while and sometimes you have to do some hammering or use a grinder, which also makes noise.” He understands that this may cause some nuisance.

Although Bergman says the students did comply with the zoning plan and environmental regulations and only caused “nuisance” during working hours, that was not enough to prevent problems with the neighbor. “It caused the landlord too many headaches which is why he decided to terminate the contract.” By the end of January, the students - along with all their equipment - must vacate the building, which will be quite an undertaking, says Bergman. “We have a car lift, three workbenches, a gas stove, washing machine and dishwasher, tools and so on. A lot of space is needed just to store all that stuff.” So storing everything would already be very expensive, but it is nothing compared to the current prices for a workshop similar to the one the students have at their disposal now. “For a space with its own garage door, you’re looking at 1,500 to 2,000 euros per month. That’s roughly 20,000 a year. As an association, we can’t afford that.”

Financial support

Bergman wonders if there is any point in storing all the equipment in hopes that a new affordable workshop will become available. The association currently receives no financial support from the university, and without it, he thinks it will be virtually impossible to rent a new location. The problem lies in the fact that De Beunbazen does not fall under an umbrella organization, explains community manager Erik de Jong. “Support for associations is decentralized and regulated via the umbrella organizations. So if you’re not part of one, you don’t qualify for support.”

That is a shame, thinks Bergman. He says the association has tried to affiliate with one of the umbrella organizations, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. “And trying to bend over backwards only to secure that funding just doesn’t feel right.”

De Jong understands that, but says that under the current policy, it is the only way to get support. “As an alternative, I suggested they turn to the student teams. There we support a lot of students who like tinkering with cars. But of course, you also have to meet certain criteria.”

Regarding the Eindhoven Student Motorcycle Club “De Asfalthappertjes” - which Bergman cites as an example of an association that does receive financial support without an umbrella organization - De Jong says that they were simply very lucky and managed to secure an arrangement when the support system was still structured in a different way and administrators made different decisions. “I would advise De Beunbazen to go talk to De Asfalthappertjes, maybe they can help each other out.”

Member outflow

Should the association be unable to find an affordable location and also fail to secure financing, the students will have to consider throwing in the towel altogether in terms of finding a new workshop, says Bergman. “We existed for three years without such a property before. For some of us, it’s enough to just meet in a parking lot to chat about cars and go on the occasional trip together. But I still expect to see an outflow of members.”

According to him, the association has two main goals: bringing students with similar interests together and making it possible for students to have a car. "With the loss of the workshop, we will also lose that second goal, and of course that will affect the atmosphere as well, because there will be fewer people with whom you can share your passion." However, before he resigns himself to that idea, he first wants to try to find a place. It doesn’t have to be fancy, he emphasizes. “We need a place with a garage door where people can enter independently. Between 75 and 300 square meters.” And, of course, noise should be allowed; that much is clear now.

Editorial note

The amount of journalistic freedom at Cursor is very unclear at the moment. In collaboration with the unions, the editorial staff has submitted a proposal letter with suggestions regarding press freedom to the Executive Board, and a first discussion has taken place. This article was published in anticipation of the outcome of the negotiation process.

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