Inauguration of La Croisette on the Upper Meuse in Dinant, a smart and sustainable project financed by the EIB and Belfius
- This spectacular smart and sustainable development project is supported by our Smart Cities programme
- The goal is to kick-start development and living improvement dynamics in a completely redesigned public space
- With direct advantages for local authorities and residents, the EIB is providing EU commitment to support people on the ground
This comprehensive smart and sustainable redevelopment is a new page in Dinant's history and a key step in revitalising its town centre. It will act as a real showcase for the Upper Meuse and Wallonia. The inauguration of La Croisette in Dinant took place on Sunday 29 April 2018, attended by municipal and regional authorities and representatives from Belfius and the European Investment Bank (EIB). It was an opportunity for locals and a number of tourists to discover the redeveloped 1.5 km-long promenade running alongside and above the river in a festive atmosphere featuring music and cinema.
An emblematic project on more than one level, La Croisette in Dinant was one of the first to be selected by the EIB and Belfius as part of their joint Smart Cities & Sustainable Development financing programme aiming to help local authorities in Belgium to implement their smart and sustainable mobility, urban development and/or energy efficiency projects. The goal of this programme, which was launched in mid-2014, was to reduce loan costs as much as possible with the favourable terms of EIB funding, thereby turning the Smart Cities programme into the new standard for building the cities and municipalities of the future.
The Meuse takes centre stage
Nestled between a cliff and the river, over time Dinant has developed a linear shape along the Meuse, leading to recurrent problems with mobility and limited space to expand. This sparked the idea of building a corbelled structure – around 500 m long with a width of up to 5 m – above the river, increasing the total surface area available and thereby giving the town centre some breathing room.
This new space above the water will open up new possibilities to completely rethink, renew and redevelop the entire right bank of the Meuse, with a particular emphasis on pedestrians, cyclists, and people with reduced mobility, while also giving the river a position and social role at the heart of the town.
LED lighting that changes intensity and colour as needed
A long, 1.5 km promenade with benches, flowers, various plants and soon new terraces (named La Croisette after the famous boulevard in Cannes) will enable pedestrians and cyclists to peacefully and safely meander along beside the river, from the Place Cardinal Mercier at the town's entrance to Place Balbour and Place Albert 1er, which have also had a makeover.
The completely renewed Meuse quayside features nine new jetties, as well as several power terminals for tourist and pleasure boats. The storm run-off collection and management network has also been modernised, while the use of smart, low-energy LED lighting, the choice of plant varieties and construction materials, and the free WiFi access along the whole promenade clearly help put Dinant onto a Smart City footing.
Experts from Belfius and the EIB judged that the La Croisette project, promoted jointly by the municipal and regional authorities, had an unquestionably strategic, integrated and sustainable approach, and that it would indeed be entered into consideration to benefit from Smart Cities & Sustainable Development financing. Dinant was therefore one of the first local authorities to take advantage of this programme to cover the share of the total budget under its responsibility. Implementation was allocated to Artes TWT, working together with SM Bureau d’étude Greisch - Bureau d’architecture Canevas.
Mayor of Dinant Richard Fournaux said: “La Croisette is undoubtedly the most important project Dinant has seen for decades and I am convinced that it will give our town, its businesses and its residents a new lease of life. It therefore makes me even happier that we were able to count on Belfius and the EIB to finance this project. Indeed, the favourable terms of the Smart Cities & Sustainable Development programme enabled us to substantially reduce the interest charges on the loan covering the share of the total budget under Dinant's responsibility.”
Belfius Public & Social Banking Distribution Director Dirk Smet added: “In light of its historic partnership with public authorities and its role as a driver of the Belgian economy, Belfius is duty-bound to help cities and municipalities plan for the future and develop sustainable projects, thereby setting an example for businesses and other public authorities. We are delighted that this major flagship project for Dinant could be implemented via our Smart Cities & Sustainable Development programme co-financed by the EIB.
Belfius is proud to apply its Smart Belgium strategy and the various tools developed – including its partnership with the EIB to finance Smart projects – to encourage and spur public authorities and private companies to work together across eight priority sectors, including mobility, urban development, the circular economy, energy and Smart Cities, to make our society smarter and more sustainable.”
EIB Director General Jean-Christophe Laloux said: “An estimated 75% of the global population will live in cities by 2050. This is why transforming cities to make them smarter and more sustainable is among the EIB's key objectives.
Together with Belfius, our long-standing partner for the Smart Cities programme in Belgium, we are confident that by helping local authorities to implement their projects in this way, the EU bank will have a quick and direct impact on our environment and people's daily lives. The very essence of the European project is to be at the heart of cities and municipalities to serve people and local development.”
Already more than 100 projects, including nine in Namur Province
Since the June 2014 announcement of the partnership between Belfius and the EIB aimed at supporting the development of Smart Cities in Belgium – a European first – more than 100 smart and sustainable projects have benefited from this support and favourable financing terms. These include not only La Croisette in Dinant, but also Belgium's first organic natural swimming pond on the redeveloped Belvédère site in Dour, the refurbishment of the Hastière tourist information office, the transformation of a dangerous crossroads into a pleasant village square in Heer-sur-Meuse, the energy efficiency refurbishment of the Gros-Chêne municipal school in Flémalle, the new Gembloux town hall, the new connected and low-energy CPAS rest and care home in Sambreville, the integrated library/academy in Alost, near-zero energy sheltered accommodation in Schelle, and the new fire station for the South-West Limburg emergency services area.
Local authorities can play a major role in combating global warming and developing the circular economy by setting an example and thereby encouraging companies, individuals and other organisations to implement environmentally friendly initiatives of their own. A number of Belgian cities and municipalities – recently joined by Dinant and 19 other Namur Province municipalities – have already signed the Covenant of Mayors, undertaking to promote climate protection and voluntarily cut CO2 emissions in their area. The EIB and Belfius intend to support them as much as possible in this initiative with their joint Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy and Smart Cities & Sustainable Development joint financing programmes.