There are regular plans to rehabilitate the canal’s dilapidated locks. Fifteen years ago, for example, there was Plan Verbeem, an idea of the then village councilor, Wim Verbeem. The plan included a mini-campsite, a sculpture garden and an education center. It was never realized for lack of money.
Landscape architect De Koning’s latest designs have a better chance of success, says Alderman Kees Verburg. “The setup is more restrained and we want to make work with work,” says Verburg. The initiator at the time, Verbeem, is also present at the open house evening. He does not want to comment on the latest plans, but he will soon meet with the architect and the project manager of the municipality, he announces. “Maybe we can take some elements of his plans,” notes De Koning.
At the moment there is little money for all sorts of extras. The municipality of Reimerswaal wishes to control costs by supporting the earthworks of the Scheldestromen Water Board for the improvement of the dyke. “The contractor only has to drive with dirt once,” says Verburg. Thus, the renovation can be carried out at a relatively low cost. Verburg takes into account an expenditure item of approximately 300,000 euros. “But the dip will be higher in practice,” he predicts.
Visitors to the information evening at Kai Munk’s town hall reacted divided to the latest plans. Some see opportunities and make suggestions, such as placing a covered seating area on the canal bank, from where visitors can watch passing ships.
But at the same time, there is a doubt. “It’s never feasible for three tons, not even with the exceptional benefits of the levee upgrade,” says Ronald, a local resident. Rita, her fellow villager, adds, “Everything looks good, but what about the maintenance? The backwater of stagnant water in the locks causes stench and algae growth, if you don’t don’t do it in time.” Because the locks are no longer connected to the Western Scheldt. “It will never come back,” must admit landscape architect De Koning.
No matter what, the locks will never work again. What remains is the memory of the past and new opportunities with new functions for the lock complex.
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