Soon a new water park in Brussels: “A place for young people who cannot go on vacation”

That’s it: the implementation of the Gare de l’Ouest PAD has been relaunched. After years of fruitless negotiations, SNCB and Infrabel, owners of the station wasteland, have finally reached an agreement with the Region and the municipality of Molenbeek. The Brussels government thus approved at second reading the master development plan for the area, after the public inquiry which enabled citizens and the bodies concerned to give their opinion on the project.

Located along Rue Alphonse Vandenpeereboom, the wasteland stretches for nearly a kilometer, from Osseghem metro station to West Station. In the center, the Beekkant station and its footbridge allow you to pass from one side of the site to the other, crossed by the railway. In total, no less than thirteen hectares are unused and that the PAD intends to revalue.

First, with a public park, which will extend over a minimum of three hectares from Osseghem to Beekkant. Bruxelles Environnement will soon start cleaning up the soil in order to make it accessible as quickly as possible. The Region will then change it over the course of the implementation of the PAD, announces Citydev. In the second part of the site, between Beekkant and Gare de l’Ouest, housing will be erected, most of which will be public, economic activities, equipment and shops. On the other side of the railway line, on the site of the former headquarters of Delhaize, other housing, shops and recreational activities will emerge, including a water park.

The Beekkant station will also be enlarged and its footbridge renovated to be more welcoming, at all hours of the day and night. It will be connected to the cyclostrade, the rapid cycle path project that links the North district to the Jacques Brel metro station in Anderlecht. The municipality is also planning to renovate Place Beekkant to expand the public space, in continuity with the new park at Gare de l’Ouest.

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If a budget of three million euros has already been allocated for this last project, which is not part of the PAD, the mixed housing and activities program will not see the light of day anytime soon. The PAD indeed provides a spatial vision of the future of the area but it must still be approved in third reading by the government, once the Council of State has delivered its opinion. Negotiations and permit applications will then have to decide on concrete projects that will revive the wasteland.

“Between the validation of the master plan and the finalization of all the projects, I think it takes ten years, said Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (PS). We are therefore relying on temporary occupations and an evolving park in order to allow residents to appropriate the premises as quickly as possible. “

For her part, the mayor of Molenbeek was delighted to see the situation unblocked. “This is a decisive moment for the municipality because for a long time it has been difficult to reach an agreement. It was important for us that there be public housing, a park and employment prospects because it This is one of the densest and youngest districts of Brussels. We would also like to thank Infrabel for choosing this district to set up the Infrabel Academy, a national training center for railway professions. “

Catherine Moureaux (PS) and her alderman for Public Works Jef Van Damme (Vooruit) hope to see the opening of a recreational aquatic center, such as Océade, within five years. “Some young people do not always have the possibility to go on a trip because it is too expensive. Such a subtropical swimming pool is a great way to spend a vacation in their own city.“The local elected officials are also pleading for a swimming pool at a preferential rate for Molenbeekois (es), the existing swimming pool not being able to accommodate everyone.

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The north-west of the wasteland will be reserved for the development of biodiversity. “The objective is to transform the wasteland, which is currently a barrier between the east and west sides of the district, into an open gateway to the city”, concludes the managing director of Antoine de Borman.

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