Jean-Marie Dedecker obtained parking after a meeting at the Lydia Peeters cabinet

Jean-Marie Dedecker obtained parking after a meeting at the Lydia Peeters cabinet
Jean-Marie Dedecker obtained parking after a meeting at the Lydia Peeters cabinet
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“If you don’t have a foot in Brussels as mayor, you have less power.” In a podcast of the Newspaper Jean-Marie Dedecker explains why he thinks it is important to sit in the federal parliament. As mayor of Middelkerke, he can keep the lines of communication short with the cabinets in Brussels and arrange matters for his municipality. On June 9, Dedecker will be party leader for the N-VA in West Flanders, for the House, as an independent.

“I have direct access to cabinets – and not only that of Zuhal Demir or Ben Weyts, but also that of Lydia Peeters,” says Dedecker. “For example, for the construction of the casino. No more parking spaces were allowed under the sea wall. I said: that’s impossible. It was resolved in one day with Lydia Peeters.”

Dedecker argues that he is acting in the interests of his municipality. “It’s okay that it works this way. That has nothing to do with cronyism. Life is relationships. As a representative, I represent the people who voted for me.”

The cabinet of Lydia Peeters (Open VLD), Flemish Minister of Public Works, confirms the course of events. “There has been no pressure,” says spokesman Aidan Reinquin. “Nothing has happened that couldn’t happen.”

Apparently it is not unusual for mayors to personally plead their case. “Many mayors have already come here to discuss files with the administration and to address bottlenecks.”

Negative advice

The Maritime Services and Coastal Agency (MDK) had initially given negative advice for a parking lot under the Middelkerke dike. “The dike itself is the responsibility of the MDK agency, but the road on it belongs to the municipality. Our advisory council had advised against the parking, but it was ultimately a policy decision by the minister to allow it. We do that often. This happened after consultation with the municipal council, but in accordance with MDK.”

The question is whether the parking lot under the dike does not weaken the storm defenses. In an earlier article in The standard Ewald Wauters had already asked questions about those underground parking spaces. Wauters studies the coast as an urban transformation expert at the engineering firm Tractebel. “Even if these car parks were integrated into the sea defenses and passed all technical simulations, you can never be completely certain that problems will not arise there sooner or later,” he says. “A more fundamental thing is that the coastal authorities continue to believe that you should be able to drive your car all the way to the sea wall. It is strange that for something that fluctuates so much throughout the year – the number of tourists – so much permanent infrastructure is being built. Each square continues to be turned into a parking lot. If that is the priority, you are not concerned with the real residents.”

Middelkerke’s new casino, Silt, opened on March 22. The cost rose to 70 million euros, but the mayor is confident that Silt will pay for itself in the long term. According to the MDK website, the casino is “an important link in coastal protection”.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: JeanMarie Dedecker obtained parking meeting Lydia Peeters cabinet

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