Brussels will build first public open-air swimming pool on Abattoir site

The Brussels government gave the final green light to Rudi Vervoort and Pascal Smet to build a swimming complex on the Abattoir site in Anderlecht. The Flemish government will co-finance the project.
The Brussels government approved the proposal by Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort and Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet to build an indoor and outdoor swimming pool on the roof of the Manufakture building on the Abattoir site in Anderlecht. ​The Brussels Urban Development Corporation “SAU” will now concretise the project and explore the exploitation possibilities. Flanders also dives in the project and is making funds available to co-finance the project, confirmed Bart Somers, Flemish Minister for Domestic Administration.

The press-release from Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet says following (read the entire article here) :

Public outdoor swimming facilities have been a sensitive issue in Brussels for a long time. An issue that returns in the growing heat of every summer.

In 2005, Pascal Smet was the first Brussels politician to put open-air swimming pools on the agenda. In 2006, he launched an international architecture competition to create an open-air swimming pool in the Béco Dock in front of the entrance to Tour & Taxis. Unfortunately, this project was cancelled by Smet's successor in the next legislature, Brigitte Grouwels.
​The request of many Brusselers to be able to have a refreshing swim outdoors has only grown louder since then. Citizen collective “Pool is Cool” has been creating a positive vibe around the topic for several years and, with public support, it even created a temporary open-air swimming pool along the canal in Anderlecht in recent summers.

The Brussels government formation in 2019 was the perfect opportunity for Rudi Vervoort and Pascal Smet to pave the way for Brussels' first public open-air swimming pool. In May 2021, the Brussels government approved Vervoort and Smet's proposal to launch a feasibility study for a multi-purpose swimming pool (with indoor and outdoor pools) on the Abattoir site in Anderlecht.
​This study was assigned to the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) and its results were presented to the Brussels Government in October 2021.
​In February 2022, the Brussels Region issued a planning permit for the Manufakture building on the Abattoir site in Anderlecht. This building will house food producing and processing companies. The project included structural reinforcement to allow the building to support a swimming pool on its roof. For these reinforcement works, and the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) made available 2,127,000 euros and 1,800,000 euros respectively.
​The combination of food producing and processing companies and a swimming pool is no coincidence. The cooling rooms of these activities release a lot of heat, which will be used to sustain a pleasant water temperature.
In April 2022, the board of directors of Abattoir appointed a contractor. Meanwhile, preparatory works on the Manufakture project, with a structure capable of supporting a future swimming pool, have been started.

By approving the plan of action proposed by Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort and Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet, the Brussels government is now finally giving the go for the construction of an outdoor swimming pool on the roof of the Manufakture building. ​The SAU will now start concrete preparations for the pool, such as the legal structure for development and operation and the preparation of the tender procedure for construction.La baignade publique à ciel ouvert est depuis longtemps un sujet brûlant à Bruxelles.


Flanders also joins the project funding

The Flemish government supports the project and decided to release 3.4 million euros, confirmed Flemish Minister of Domestic Administration Bart Somers. These funds will allow the Flemish Community Commission to take an active partner role within the public swimming pool development. This support is therefore excellent news for (Dutch-language) swimming clubs and swimming classes.

The project’s total cost, with indoor and outdoor pool, is estimated at 20.2 million euros.

This amount also includes the 2,127,000 euros and the 1,800,000 euros that and the sports department of the Flemish Community Commission, competences of Pascal Smet, have already released for the structure works that are about to start.

For the remaining funds, several authorities are joining forces. Including the municipality of Anderlecht, which is standing up as a partner in the project, since the needs are great for the surrounding schools.