Geraardsbergen. Many objections were submitted to the request to demolish part of the buildings of the open swimming pool on the Den Bleek site. ‘Geraardsbergen gave the green light despite the preservation. The next step in the procedure will be conducted in the Province of East Flanders, perhaps in the course of this month’, says Groen. Green is certainly not against softening surfaces, but it is against the demolition of the outdoor swimming pool, and this for several reasons. Groen also asks whether a demolition permit has ever been issued for Den Dok.
In the Multi-Year Plan 2020-2025, under ‘People and leisure’ it was stated for the swimming pool ‘investing in a new tub, pipes and heating system, showers, new lockers and energy-efficient measures’. In 2020, the city council suddenly announced that the outdoor swimming pool at ‘Den Bleek’ was definitively closed. ‘This decision was taken without any motivation whatsoever and without seeking advice from the various councils (sports, culture, youth, village councils, heritage, etc.), nor was it compulsory to seek advice from the Cultuurpact Commission. Is this an example of participation in his “Geisbaergs”?’ Green wonders aloud.
In the months that followed, a consultation group was set up to consider the future use of the Den Bleek site. ‘It soon became apparent that keeping the swimming pool open, whether or not it was possible, should not even be discussed’, Groen adds. However, Groen wants a solution for the site while preserving Den Dok. ‘In the changing climate conditions, it would be a great pity to close a centrally located and easily accessible public swimming pool. Looking for cooling and shade in the city center will become even more important than before.’
Groen has a number of suggestions for keeping Den Dok open. For example, the water can be heated by solar panels. A water pump can be installed to preheat the pool water. Groen points out that there are many environmentally friendly ways to manage a swimming pool. ‘At ‘Pool is Cool’, which has already acquired a great deal of expertise in connection with public open swimming facilities.’ Green also asks for a thorough soil investigation to be done because there is historical pollution.
If Den Dok is reopened, which we are counting on, preventive measures must be taken to protect the technical installations against possible flooding, as the area is always located in a flood-prone zone’, concludes Groen.