Brussels' first outdoor public pool Flow is expanding in preparation of a summer reopening, with plans to install a snack kiosk and a sauna in the long term.
The sauna would be to entice visitors during colder months, but most changes will be implemented by this summer.
“There are three major works we want to realise,” Paul Steunbrück, one of the organisers of Pool is Cool, told The Brussels Times.
Eco-filtration, a snack bar and a sauna
“First is a natural water filtration system that relies on plants instead of a classical chlorine system. The Brussels government is working on new legislation that will make this possible and we’re optimistic it will be ready by June, in order to make Flow an ecological prototype for new ways of dealing with water treatment.”
Such systems are already allowed in Wallonia and Flanders, where they’ve become popular for minimising the ecological impact of swimming pools.
The second significant addition will be a snack bar.
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“Many people who responded to a survey we did wanted the possibility to have a drink or a little snack to make the visit before or after swimming a little more pleasant,” Steunbrück explained.
The third major work is the construction of a sauna closer to the onset of the autumn season, which Steunbrück says will be especially inviting in the context of Brussels’ weather, and for a growing number of winter swimmers who hope to use the pool year-round.
Growing enthusiasm for open-air swimming
Pool is Cool’s mission is to bring more outdoor swimming to the Belgian capital, and the initiative has been met with success.
“Yesterday we had a meeting with more than 20 organisations from Brussels, all with very different backgrounds, discussing how Flow can be a summer destination with events like aqua fitness, swimming lessons, cultural events and concerts, radio shows and pool parties,” said Steunbrück.
“It was a beautiful moment, seeing the energy that people want to put into the project to make it again a very lively, diverse place that welcomes everyone from Brussels.”
Their survey found that the pool’s users come from all over the city, including neighbourhoods as far away as Schaerbeek.
“It certainly shows that even if it's a small project in a relatively unknown neighbourhood, people are desperately looking for refreshment in the summer and there’s demand for open-air swimming.”