Wide beach: vision development
Hannelore Maelfait, deputy adviser for coastal zone management of the province of West Flanders, explains: “The Dutch love wide beaches, while the Flemish prefer narrow beaches. The wide beach of Zeebrugge creates a lot of possibilities.”
Coastal zone management is aimed at developing these possibilities and bringing potential partners together. “The beach of Zeebrugge is still underutilised as a venue for events, despite the proximity of a train station and tram stop. The successful electronic music festival WeCanDance proves that the beach is an interesting place to organise events.”
Coastal zone management pitches ideas to the partners in the hope that they will be taken up. “On the western side of the jetty, there is the Saint George’s Day promenade featuring two viewing platforms. Pretty impressive if you ask me! The promenade extends to half-way up the jetty. This provides a lot of recreational options.”
Hannelore points to clumps of marram grass on the beach in front of the Icarus surfing club. “These bits of dune have sprung up naturally. If you do not clean the beach with bulldozers, new dunes begin to develop rapidly. It is a completely natural process.”
According to Hannelore, the hospitality sector is a final potential use of the wide beach. “In many places along the Dutch coast, you can see charming holiday homes on the beach. This is perfectly possible here too. Guests would be in direct contact with the beach and sea.” This strip of beach is also the site of a so-called ‘transition joint bay’ to transmit electricity generated by four offshore wind farms to the onshore grid. The thick cable is completely hidden under the sand.
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