Brussels : Expropriations in Midi neightborhood

Tuesday 11 December 2007

The policy of the Region disclaimed by its own officials!

- Press release, December 11, 2006

This Thursday, December 13, the municipal council of Saint Gilles will come to a vote ratifying the expropriation of 22 houses in the South Station district. Very rare event in this kind of case, on November 27, all the members of the conciliation committee have voted abstention regarding the new round of expropriations (fifth) for the quarter Midi.

To recap, the conciliation committee is the only place where citizens and associations have the opportunity to speak on development projects private or public. It brings together representatives of:

- The municipal administration, which is also the chair of the commission and its secretariat

- The Administration of Planning and Housing, Ministry of the Brussels Capital Region (AATL), in particular the Department of Planning and the Department of Monuments and Sites

- The Development Corporation for the Brussels Capital Region (SDRB)

- The Brussels Institute for Environmental Management (IBGE).

On 27 November, residents and associations went along in numbers to voice their demands, criticism and counterproposals to this new project renewing a threat of expropriation with "extreme urgency"… for the next 10 years.

These consultations resulted in a unanimous official abstention of the members of the committee. It has a real political meaning because it confirms:

- That the regional power is acting alone against everyone in this case;

- General discomfort in civil society and in the regional administrations.

It also proves that apart from stakeholders (Municipality of Saint Gilles and Government of the Brussels Capital Region and the public-private developpers of Brussels South INC) nobody endorses the plan, neither the administration intended to implement government decisions .

To recap, the key demands of inhabitants and associations which support them are:

1. Renewing without destroying. Indeed what the government is proposing in nothing but the destruction of housing to build new ones, but for different residents who will be able to pay more taxes;

2. Rehousing all tenants - so that the authorities take their responsibilities to the people by proposing a solution in case of expropriation which means decent rehousing as it used to be done in other cases;

3. That the municipal council will vote under commitment from the region to propose a concrete schedule for the expropriation of up to 6 months, a condition which should also be extended to any other expropriation plans;

4. Enforcing the law by ensuring fair compensation for owners and traders;

5. One way or another, putting an immediate end to the uncertainty hanging over the people threatened with expropriation in islets A and D. their only crime is to be settled on land where PPAS Fonsny No. 1 has planned "weak" (housing) functions , which are to this day still not realized.

These claims have been expressed by the signatories associations since 1990.

• Brusselse Raad voor het Leefmilieu (BRAL) • Midi Committee • Inter-Brussels (IEB) • League of Human Rights (LDH) • Brussels union for the Right to Housing (RBDH)

See online : Midi Committee

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