Anderlecht canal swimming event cancelled over ‘juridical consequences’
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    Anderlecht canal swimming event cancelled over ‘juridical consequences’

    The Big Jump event in Anderlecht last year. Credit: Pool is Cool.

    There will be no ‘Big Jump’ – a wild swimming event – in the Anderlecht canal this year, following a disagreement over safety with the harbour, according to co-organisers ‘Pool is Cool’ in a press release issued this Friday.

    Part of a European River Network event, the Big Jump was initially organised to “raise awareness for the state of rivers, canals and lakes by a collective public jump into waters which are otherwise not meant for swimming”, state Brussels based organisation, Pool is Cool.

    Encouraging outdoor swimming specifically in the Brussels region was vital for Pool is Cool as “every major city in Europe has one or many public open-air pools, the capital of Europe has none”.

    To raise awareness and attempt to change this disparity, Pool is Cool brought the ‘Big Jump’ event to Brussels, which saw dozens of swimmers jump into the Anderlecht canal once a year.

    Jumping into the canal is technically forbidden, yet “has always been ignored by authorities and the harbour for many years”, say Pool is Cool, accounting for the success of previous Big Jump events.

    However, last year authorities adopted a firmer stance and Pool is Cool were issued a 1,000 euro fine following their annual Big Jump event.

    “Accepting our responsibility for this act of civil disobedience, we took the fine as reason to reach out to the harbour with the request to organise the BIG JUMP 2019 together, providing a safe swimming environment”, the organisation said.

    Yet the harbour refused to collaborate, given the safety issues surrounding the jump.

    It was therefore “in the face of even more serious juridical consequences”, that Pool is Cool announced the cancellation of Big Jump.

    Madeleine Fletcher
    The Brussels Times