Wallonia orders halt to €1.4 million social housing repairs affected by floods

Wallonia orders halt to €1.4 million social housing repairs affected by floods
Credit: N.Maeterlinck / Belga

In the Dolhain area of Limbourg, Wallonia, the local and regional authorities have demanded a halt on repairs made to 42 social housing units damaged by flooding in July 2021, according to Belgian publication RTL Info.

The social housing units are currently 80% repaired and around €1.4 million has already been spent on the renovations by public housing company Logivesdre. The company quickly began work in order to return families back to their homes as quickly as possible.

Despite the works almost being completed, the Walloon and Limbourg administrations have demanded that construction at the site be halted, citing fears of future flooding.

Minister of Housing and Local Authorities Christophe Collignon has called for the repairs to be halted, instead proposing new plans for a “sustainable district” to be constructed in its place.

The neighbourhood, which sits along the banks of the river Vesdre, has flooded twice within the last 6 years. The city of Limbourg, in line with Collignon, wants to prevent a repeat of future incidents, which have cost local authorities a large amount of money in recent years. The city demands that the buildings are not rebuilt as they were.

According to RTL, consultations had been ongoing about the future of the buildings since September, despite the ongoing reconstruction works.

Building company Logivesdre is reported to have been part of this consultation, but has decided to press on as it has already invested heavily into the reconstruction. The company will appeal to the Minister to allow for the construction to finish.

Mayor of Limbourg, Valérie Fautre-Dejardin, has stated that the safety of local inhabitants must take precedence in the discussions.

“The area has already been flooded twice in six years,” she explained. “We must consider the construction of a district in the short, medium, and long term, which has not been done here.”

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The local authorities have also discussed the possibility of widening the Vesdre in order to lessen the impact of future floods, however, this would likely come at the expense of social housing in the surrounding area.

The City authorities hope to organise a meeting with local authorities and Logivesdre in the new future to review the plans for the area and make alternative proposals.

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