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March to Josaphatfriche: "Totally unacceptable the destruction of this biodiversity"

March to Josaphatfriche: “Totally unacceptable the destruction of this biodiversity”

“Sauvons la friche Josaphat” and Natagora, an association committed to protecting nature in Wallonia and Brussels, organized today’s rally to once again draw attention to Josaphatfriche. The green strip where the district wants to build a new urban area has been designated an area of ​​high biological importance and must be preserved, according to the associations.

Much ink has already been poured on Josaphatfriche, which in recent years has developed into a kind of urban wilderness on the border between Schaerbeek and Evere. The site is part of the Josaphat Development Plan (RPA) and is one of the major construction sites planned by the Brussels government, in a former conversion yard of 25 hectares.

In the original plans of the government, the entire Josavat site was to be built, except for a small strip of green space next to the paths. This led to an unprecedented protest, after which plans were changed.

New plan, but 1,988 objections

Under the new plan, 1,200 new homes will be built spread over two residential areas. Forty percent of the roof area remains free for green space in that plan. Although the real “bio-garden”, untouched, will be only 1.28 hectares in size. This is about 5 percent of the current surface.

The public investigation into RPA Josaphat continued until November 25 last year. Subsequently, nearly two thousand citizens and organizations filed a complaint against the regional building plans.

“A defining moment for Frisch”

“This is a defining moment for Frisch,” says Catherine Senor of Collectif sauvons la friche Josaphat, “because the public inquiry is now over and the government must now consider what will happen to Frisch.”

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“The question is how can we convince the government to preserve this wonderful and biodiverse place,” she says. Today we want to raise awareness among the government and the population so that it gets back on the political agenda. It is completely unacceptable to destroy a place so rich in biodiversity.”

New homes can be built without compromising many advantages

Seigneur refers to the biodiversity map prepared by Brussels Environment, which refers to the Josaphatfriche area as an area of ​​high biological interest. “This makes Fresh similar to the Sonian Forest in terms of biodiversity. It is unreasonable to build in the Sonian Forest, but one would do it in the new style.”

Therefore, freshness should never be compromised, according to Senor. “If you look at RPA Josaphat, it has an area of ​​34 hectares. The area of ​​​​Fresh is 14 hectares. Thus, there is enough space left within the perimeter of RPA for the construction of the planned houses.”