Swiss summer days call for lounging around by the pool, but in the city of Bern, a debate over poolside snacks has become political.
The Swiss Socialist Party (SP) and its youth faction (JUSO) have put forward an urgent motion asking the town council to tackle ‘gentrification’ in the city’s public pools, according to local newspaper Der Bund.
The problem? ‘Hipster’ food and soaring prices in the hot dog stands and food trucks at the local lidos.
An organic hot dog, for example, now costs 9.50 francs – more than double the previous price tag, while at other pools, the traditional hot dog and ice cream kiosks have been replaced by stalls selling fancier dishes.
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The SP/JUSO motion, ‘Hot dogs for all, not for the few’, will urge the council to « create a social balance » by ensuring inexpensive snacks are also made available.
Barbara Keller, a board member of JUSO Bern, said in a statement from the youth party that the price hikes « exclude low-income people, and in particular families, from the clientele and make a satisfying visit to the pool very difficult. »
Keller added that while she welcomed the choice to use locally produced, high quality ingredients, the increase in costs was disproportionate.
The group’s president, Tamara Funiciello, added that « without malicious intentions, the leaseholders are carrying out gentrification of the swimming pools of the city of Bern ».
Earlier in June, JUSO members handed out 200 free hot dogs outside the Weyerli pool in protest at the price increases and called on the SP to « use their influence as an official left-wing party in the council ».