Locals Vote Against Tesla Giga Berlin Expansion

Tesla Giga Berlin expansion received the support of just 35% of citizens who took part in the vote in Grünheide. Local youth are fighting for their future and the opportunity to find work close to home, but the older population, who are against the project, dominates the region. The divide shows the company must find ways to increase public awareness of its impact across all age groups.

The voting of Grünheide residents on the expansion of Giga Berlin ended last Friday. Its results were announced on Tuesday, and they are not the most favorable for Tesla. According to the data, 5,381 citizens over 16 years of age took part in the voting. This amounted to more than 70% of the entire population. Of those, 3,499 people, or about 65%, voted against, while 1,882, or 35%, voted in favor of expansion. Representatives of the public in Grünheide have yet to decide on the development plan. Voting in the citizen survey is not mandatory, but is considered an important indicator.

While the result of the vote does not have a direct impact on whether Giga Berlin’s expansion will be approved, the result does show that the company needs to do more to raise local awareness of its impact.

“This shows that people’s concerns and fears clearly outweigh them,” said Brandenburg Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach. “Now it is important to find answers to open questions. I also see the vote as motivation for the community and Tesla to provide conceptual answers to problems that have yet to be resolved in the coming weeks and months.”

It is worth noting that in East Germany, where Giga Berlin is located, the birth rate continues to fall. In the region, the older population predominates, while young people leave the region in search of work in other parts of Germany. The Tesla factory has become a hope for a large number of local youth to get a job close to home. At the moment, about 12,000 people already work at Giga Berlin, and young people are also interested in the future opportunities that the expansion of the factory will bring. At the same time, the older population is less dependent on work and is therefore not as inclined to support further development.

The state of Brandenburg, where Grünheide is located, has seen a sharp increase in its older population. By 2030, officials project that nearly a third of the state’s population will be 65 or older. Now is the time to think about offering more employment opportunities to the youth to keep them from leaving the state.

Silas Heineken, 17, Moritz Tezky, 16, and Tariq Lober, 18, residents of Grünheide, said they would try to get a job at Giga Berlin. They were the ones who put up information posters in Grünheide during the vote, trying to show that Tesla was a good thing for the region.

“We realized how easy it is for people to be against something, to reject something new,” said Silas. “The Gigafactory expansion was a reason for us to stay, ‘Why don’t we—for the first time, maybe in history—show that we’re for something,'” he continued.

“[Thanks to Tesla], I don’t feel like I’m living in a dead suburb anymore,” said Moritz.

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