Brussels prepares to “dip its toe” in the water with local lakes
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    Brussels prepares to “dip its toe” in the water with local lakes

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    Due to a lack of open-air swimming pools in Brussels, six public water bodies will be made available to swimmers on two afternoons during this coming summer, Céline Fremault has said. The Brussels Minister for the Environment is preparing on Friday for the forthcoming “Brussels water days,” taking place from March 17th and 24th in various parts of the capital, according to the Belga press agency. 

    Last summer, Ms Fremault had instigated a study to see if swimming in the twenty or so lakes and water bodies of Brussels was feasible.

    Bacterial analyses has shown that five lakes and a stretch of canal in the Brussels region currently have a bacteria quality which is legally sufficient for swimming, and in the Minister’s view it is time to test out swimming during one or two half days next summer. 

    Included are the Pêcheries lakes in Watermael-Boitsfort, the Rouge-Cloître lakes in Auderghem and the Pede lakes in Anderlecht. The Bois de la Cambre park and gardens lake, the lake in the Fleuriste gardens (Stuyvenberg Park) in Laeken, as well as the canal Ceria campus in Anderlecht will also be part of the study.

    Discussions are taking place with the City of Brussels, the communes and the Port of Brussels for a definitive agreement to start from this summer so-called swimming “test days” for a limited number of swimmers in these locations.

    The Flemish multimedia platform, Bruzz, confirmed on Friday that the Port of Brussels was doubtful about putting the aforementioned stretch of canal to the test.  

    The trials will contribute to clarifying particular issues. These include the estimated number of potential swimmers at each site, the environmental impact caused by this activity, especially upon water quality and mobility in the neighbouring area. The trials will also shed light upon the required rules for the use of such water bodies in this way (including the use of sunscreen or the accessibility of the banks). 

    Minister Fremault said that each location used will be open for swimming for two afternoons of a given weekend. The number of swimmers will be limited, based on each location. All of the usual legal safety measures will be taken with the deployment of lifeguards amongst other steps. 

    Christopher Vincent 
    The Brussels Times