A few years ago, Toer OVL realized/financed the water play element and the additional resting infrastructure at the Zwalmmolen. Stijn Vinck (Project Coordinator) : “The water play element and the complete layout were received very positively by the tourist/recreator! In the future, the municipal council of Zwalm only had to be responsible for maintenance, which in fact never happened. In the autumn of 2019 we established that the water pump was also deliberately destroyed. To speed up a repair, Toer OVL delivered a new water pump, against the agreements regarding maintenance. At that time, agreements were also made regarding better and more frequent maintenance + reconstruction of the subsurface around the water pump. In the meantime, we are almost 3 years further and the municipality of Zwalm still refuses to take any initiative.”
We listened to the Zwalm Aldermen for Tourism – Peter Van Den Haute
Peter Van Den Haute: “You can see that the site is in good shape. However, this is not to say that sometimes there are no problems. The spot is popular with walkers and cyclists who stop for something to eat and/or drink. Our services pass there several times a week to empty the garbage can. Unfortunately, our people also have to clean up litter very often because people don’t bother to use the trash can.
After a busy day, the bin can be full by the evening. We have asked the province for more than a year to install a second waste bin, but we have not yet received it.
The general (green) maintenance of the site is carried out in accordance with the maintenance of the slow roads and the maintenance at the Streekpunt, our tourist information office.
I also received a report today that groups (young people?) are gathering, where a lot of alcohol is drunk. A few days ago, one of our volunteers at the Streekpunt picked up two large bags of litter, including 200 cigarette butts and many empty bottles of alcoholic drinks, an empty beer container, … There was also talk of vandalism with a torn root cloth. In the past we already had such nuisance on the recreation site. A targeted approach with, among others, the local police has resolved this, but it is clearly shifting. We will also look here at what we can do about it. Our litter camera may be a solution.” Photo 1
Alderman Peter Van Den Haute: “There is a water pump on the site that serves as a game element. The whole is on a base of dolomite because a lot of water is spilled by playing children and the dolomite drains the water well. As you can see in the picture, however, this is not a good system because children (but also vandals) throw dolomite into the pump and the gutters, so that the system no longer functions properly. At the moment there is no lever on the pump so that no water can be pumped up. You can see that this would otherwise cause a lot of problems because of the many stones. We have already looked for a solution, but it is not so easy to find: not permeable enough, too slippery when wet, etc.”
Water games are quickly broken in general
Where pumps and water are present, problems often arise. We saw this in the past at the monument to the miller in Nederzwalm, the watercress picker in Roborst. Water features are not spared from vandalism in many places.
The water feature around the church in Nederbrakel is a current account to which a lot of tax money flows due to the frequent maintenance that has to be carried out.