Yesterday we organized the first Neighborhood information session at the Neerpede pond after spreading the invitations two weeks before. Present: Louisa and Paul of POOL IS COOL, Nikolas of KAK and Elodie of Bruxelles Environnement. Six interested people found the way to our little red tent. Some are living right next to the pond, others come regularly from Molenbeek for a walk with their dog.
It was a friendly but critical meeting. While everyone agrees that there should be open air swimming in Brussels, they doubted that the Neerpede vijver is the right place for it. They found the initial communication about the project by the cabinet of the minister of environment in the beginning a pity since it didn’t put the emphasize on the exceptional nature of EXPEDITION SWIM, allowing swimming in a limited zone for just two days. Instead it seemed like swimming will now be allowed in all the places that were mentioned. In fact, it remains forbidden in general!
Another topic was the disbelief that the water quality is actually good enough for swimming. We reassured them that water tests are currently done weekly by Bruxelles Environnement in collaboration with Brulabo. EXPEDITION SWIM will only happen if the water quality meets the official standards! It’s also important to know that water that is safe for swimming, does not necessarily have a good ecological quality too. For example, lack of oxygen after hot days is a problem for the fauna in the lake but has no impact on the swimming parameters.
A third question was the future of the swimming in the Neerpede area. We confirmed that the result of the swimming tests will give an idea on how permanent swimming places should be developed. However, it does not at all mean that the Neerpede pond will become that place! There are thoughts by both, Bruxelles Environnement and the commune of Anderlecht, to consider outdoor swimming in the area. The exact place and all questions around management or financing will be a topic for the future.
We discussed also other topics like sunscreen or traffic, but we also shared some information about other projects in Brussels like the plan of the City of Brussels to build an open air swimming pool or a possible pool project on the site of Abattoir.
We concluded the meeting in a nice atmosphere. It’s possible that we didn’t convince everyone completely of EXPEDITION SWIM, but everyone is excited to see how it will go.
The next information session for the neighborhood will happen in two weeks at Pêcheries Royales.