Port of Brussels officials plan to liven up an otherwise dreary stretch of the Brussels Canal with a series of floating islands.
The artificial islands, designed by French-firm Ecocéan, provide patches of green vegetation critical to filtering pollution from the water and providing vital habitat wildlife.
“The vegetation of the island benefits insects and pollinators since we use a lot of flowering plants,” Etienne Abadie, Ecocéan’s project manager for northern Europe, told The Brussels Times. “The presence of the islands and the vegetation provides sheltered areas for the birds to rest and nest, especially water species such as grebes and waterfowls.”
Ultimately, the goal is for seeds from local plants to land on the islands and grow. Underneath the islands, a Biohut provides shelter and food for young fish and invertebrates. Ecocéan has created similar projects in Rotterdam, Paris, and lakes in the Alpes.
The islands are the latest step in a years-long effort to make the Brussels canal a more appealing destination. Further down the canal, the city added recently installed bicycle and pedestrian bridges and newly-created open spaces for public use.
The first rafts will cover 220 m2 spread over a 100 m stretch of the canal near the Brussels Royal Yacht Club south of the Van Praet bridge. Ultimately, the plan is to install up to 600 m2, reported La Dernière Heure.
The first floating islands will cost €160,000. Installation is scheduled to occur in May.