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    Flagey decree: “Citizens got the message’’

    Ixelles’s mayor Dominique Dufourny presented Wednesday noon an intermediate assessment of her Flagey decree, which runs from 12 March to this coming 31 October. Its aim was to reduce the nuisance provoked by alcoholic beverage consumers on streets around the ponds, and on the Flagey and Sainte-Croix Squares. After a week of warning, 106 municipal administrative sanctions (SAC) were emitted between 19 March and 22 April. Only 13 SAC for nuisance were filed thereafter from 23 April to 12 August.

    A first decree, targeting nuisances after 2 am, had been passed last year from September to November. This year, the decree prohibited alcohol consumption on streets as of midnight, and on top of that, terraces had to be tidied up by 1 am — after revision, the initial midnight having been judged too strict. Policemen, therefore, took preventive action from midnight to 1 am to avoid the risk of fines being distributed as of 1 am. Night shop managers, who already closed at 1 am, signed a chart in which they committed themselves to not selling any more alcohol to consumers on the street after midnight.

    “The Flagey decree was much talked about, with, in the early stages, not always positive connotations,’’ remarks the mayor, who wants to reconcile the festive character of his municipality with the residents’ need to sleep. “Residents have complained for years now about the constant noise.’’ No appeal has been introduced. The mayor now wishes to insist on cleanliness.

    In total, 10 billboards calling for silence have been placed in strategic places. Motorized police, federal mounted police, bikers and police on foot were mobilized. In total, 444 hours have been worked. “Street angels,” officers who will ensure nocturnal peace, will be presented to the merchants beginning of September. Out of the dozen expected, three have already volunteered.

    “For 5 weeks, we had to write up a little over one hundred tickets; then, there was a spectacular decrease,’’ comments Didier Govaerts, Ixelles’s Division Commissioner. “This means that the merchants and the public got the message. Residents’ complaints have also diminished. We now receive fewer than two calls a week for public order disturbance.’’ Nuisances have also disappeared on the Petite Suisse Square, which has been renovated.

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times