THE REOPENING OF THE FILLED-UP ‘LOWER SCHELDT’ AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ‘PORTUS GANDA’ MARINA
The City of Gent and the “Afdeling Bovenschelde” (AWZ) (Upper Scheldt Department) of the Ministry of the Flemish Community have conceived the plan to open up the filled-in part of the “Lower Scheldt” between the “Bisdomplein” and the “Nieuwbrugkaai”, thus restoring the former estuary between the Rivers Scheldt and Lys. Two bridges for car traffic will be constructed across the river: the “Wijdenaard bridge” will link the “Reep” and the “Bisdomkaai”; the “Nieuwbrug” will connect the “Keizer Karelstraat” with the “Sint-Jacobnieuwstraat”. By lowering the quays at the “Bisdomkaai”, pedestrians are brought in closer contact with the river.
In order to equalise the water level, a new lock called “Scaldissluis” will be constructed near the Old Cattle Market. From that point, the water will continue to flow via the Old Cattle Market and the “Nieuwbrugkaai” and will finally discharge in the new, broad inner harbour between the “Nieuwbrugkaai”, “Rodetorenkaai” and “Voorhoutkaai”. Here the new marina Portus Ganda is being built. “Veerkaai” and “Nieuwbrugkaai” will be connected by a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, the Bavo bridge. Next to the public works at the “Nieuwbrugkaai”, a new underpass will be realised underneath the Sint-Joris bridge.
At the spot where Lys en Scheldt merge, a marina is being built, named Portus Ganda. It has a capacity of 90 boats. Portus Ganda will be a contemporary marina with a lot of activity on and around the water.
Along the river several new parks and squares will be realised. This is the case behind the restored oldest swimming bath of Belgium (1886), at the confluence of the two rivers and at the “Bisdomplein” in front of the bishops palace and beside the cathedral. The archaeological site of Saint Bavon’s abbey just across the river will be restored. The reopened river and the adjoining streets, squares and parks are also part of a congenial route tourists are used to take from their coaches to the historic city centre.
Two works of art will be exhibited on the site. A wall painting will be made on the terrace at the “Brabantdam”. The pinnacle of the entire project is a work of art, commissioned by the AWZ, symbolising the confluence of the Rivers Lys and Scheldt.
As a first step to bring inhabitants in contact with the river and its potentials, the closing wall along the “Brabantdam” was removed and on the head of the vault, a terrace was constructed and the footpath was broadened. The first excavation took place in 2003 from the “Nieuwbrugkaai” until the “Oude Beestenmarkt”.
The excavation of the Lower Scheldt, the lowering and stabilizing of the quays, the dredging of the marina, the construction of the Bavo bridge and the building of the lock and the work of art are projects that will be realised by our partner, the Flemish Government, Administration of Waterways and Marine Affairs, division of the Upper Scheldt.
a litle movie about how it will be