No trees, broken fountains: Brussels unequipped for heatwave

No trees, broken fountains: Brussels unequipped for heatwave
After complaints by residents in Ixelles, authorities have repaired the broken fountains in Place Flagey. Credit: © Belga

As temperatures continue to soar to record highs, some residents in Brussels are calling out authorities over the city’s infrastructure and demanding they better equip it for warmer temperatures, as climate experts warn that heatwaves could become increasingly common.

In Flagey, residents are calling on authorities to repair the broken fountains in the Ixelles neighbourhood’s main square, which have not been working since the start of the heatwave.

The fountains, installed in the middle of busy Place Flagey, broke down during an event, according to the cabinet of Brussels’ minister of public works, Pascal Smet.

Place Flagey is a regional square, so local councillors are denouncing the poor management and coordination between the municipality and regional authorities.

“It is incomprehensible that the fountains in Place Flagey are not working,” councillor Geoffroy Kensier told La Dernière Heure. “Children in the neighbourhood want to refresh themselves, but there is no water.”

“It is June and the fountains are not working. How is that possible?” he added. “Are we going to have to wait until the autumn for them to be repaired?”

‘Heat traps’

Municipal officials have confirmed the problem and said they have taken the appropriate measures.

“We have urgently requested regional authorities to carry out the reparations,” Yves Rouyet, municipal alderman for urbanism told the French-speaking daily.

The broken fountains have prompted residents of the neighbourhood to call out authorities for the lack of vegetation in the city’s squares, which they say make the summer season hard to bear.

“While other cities install ‘urban forests’ to fight warming temperatures, Brussels instead opts to inaugurate new squares with no trees,” one resident wrote on social media, calling the bare surfaces of Place du Miroir, Place de Brouckère and Place Flagey a “heat trap.”

Municipal and regional authorities are working to bring the fountains back into operation “as soon as possible,” according to a statement released by Smet’s cabinet.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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