>@EIB/CPAS Sambreville

This project, implemented thanks to the support of the Walloon Region and the Smart Cities and Sustainable Development programme, is designed to offer a smart and sustainable response to the growing needs of the elderly in terms of care and accommodation. CPAS de Sambreville’s brand new rest and care home is a low-energy and fully connected building comprising 100 beds (compared to just 78 before) and three special units with a private therapeutic garden for people suffering from dementia and disorientation. It was inaugurated on 12 December in the presence of Minister Maxime Prévot, the municipal authorities and representatives of the EIB and Belfius.

After 56 years, the former building of “La Sérénité” rest and care home in Tamines is being replaced by a brand new facility located in the heart of Clos de la Roseraie, comprising a total of seven units, including three special units with a private therapeutic garden for people suffering from dementia and disorientation.

With a surface area of 22 m² compared to 12 m² before, the bedrooms in the new “La Sérénité” facility were designed to enable local care services to be provided under optimum conditions and, if necessary, the rooms can accommodate an extra bed for the resident’s family. Each unit has its own common area to enable residents to eat together and to facilitate the work of nursing and other staff. The new rest home also has a day centre with capacity for 15 people and modern catering facilities that can be used to prepare hot meals not only for the CPAS (Public Social Action Centre) – especially the rest home – but also for a number of schools in Sambreville and neighbouring municipalities. It should also be noted that the old “La Sérénité” building, which no longer met the required standards, will be refurbished and converted in order to offer new services in line with the circular economy approach advocated by the EU and supported by Belfius and the EIB.

During the project design phase, particular attention was paid to substantially improving the facility’s energy performance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in accordance with the Sustainable Energy Action Plan drawn up following the municipality's signature of the Mayors' Agreement, which aims to cut CO2 emissions by more than 36 000 tonnes a year. This has resulted in a particularly energy-efficient rest and care home that is fully in line with the EU’s targets for tackling climate change.

With this new, bigger, more sustainable rest home incorporating new technologies (computerised medical records, connected building, etc.), the Sambreville authorities aim to respond to the growing care and accommodation needs of the region's elderly population and both enhance and diversify the overall supply of high-quality accommodation in the municipality. 

A favourable loan

An in-depth project appraisal led the EIB's and Belfius’s experts to consider that the project had a strategic, innovative and sustainable approach which made it eligible for financing on favourable terms under their joint Smart Cities and Sustainable Development programme for ‘smart and sustainable cities’. 

The total construction cost for this new rest and care home was EUR 14m, of which half was covered by this loan from Belfius and the EIB whilst the other half was covered by regional subsidies. The rest home in Sambreville is therefore the third project financed via the Smart Cities and Sustainable Development programme to have been inaugurated in Namur province. 

Smart Cities: already 62 projects benefiting over 1 400 000 people 

In two and a half years, 62 “Smart” projects have already received financing totalling some EUR 400m via the Smart Cities and Sustainable Development programme, including the development of La Croisette in Dinant, the refurbishment of Hastière’s tourist office and the new town hall in Gembloux. These 62 projects – which are all either up and running or in progress – affect 1 400 000 people.

Following the success of this programme – a European first when it was launched in June 2014 – Belfius and the European Investment Bank announced on 8 December their intention to jointly provide an additional EUR 400m to finance even more smart, inclusive and sustainable projects mounted by local authorities, inter-municipal utilities and social sector (education and healthcare) non-profit organisations. 

The scope of this brand new programme, dubbed Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy, has therefore been widened to encompass the social sector, and also aims to make investments “circular” in nature. It covers not only energy performance, mobility and urban development, but also water (distribution networks, sewers, drainage, treatment), waste (selective collection, sorting, biological treatment and sludge treatment, energy production) and e-government (particularly open data). In addition to an integrated, innovative and sustainable approach, the circular economy and climate action are now key components of project appraisal and evaluation.

Via this new programme, Belfius and the EIB are therefore committed to continuing their active support for the Smart Cities dynamic in Belgium, thereby contributing to sustainable growth – a source of prosperity and social progress for people and businesses.