Nearly 200 trees have been cut on the grounds of FC De Weerdt along the Liersesteenweg in Berlaar. The Green party is incensed because there was no permit for it. According to the mayor, the project of Viva Padel will now be delayed.
Koen Kerremans and Brend Van Ransbeeck, municipal councilors of Groen in Berlaar, reacted incensed in a statement. “Viva Padel, Niels Destadsbader’s padel club, will open a padel club at that location in a few months through a long lease agreement. We support this solution, because it also gives the football club a new infrastructure instead of the worn-out canteen of today. It was almost written in the stars that the trees would be felled. But that this is now happening without a permit is irresponsible.”
The party took pictures of the felled trees to raise awareness of the situation. “Apparently this is the new way of doing things here in Berlaar. You can cut trees without a permit and make fun of the rules. It is not because a well-known Fleming wants to make investments on Berlaar’s territory, that we as a municipality suddenly have to drop all the rules. We can no longer tolerate this and demand compensation for the nearly 200 poplars that have disappeared. Otherwise, we will certainly not achieve the objectives of 11,000 extra trees at the end of the legislature,” it sounds.
According to Mayor Walter Horemans (CD&V), the trees would initially be pruned. “They had the trees checked and it turned out that almost all the trees were sick and even rotten. So there was no point in pruning them, it would have cost the house of death,” he explains.
“Viva Padel should of course have applied for a felling permit in consultation with the municipality, but they did not wait for that. That has consequences. Because they have now reached the green buffer, an official building permit will have to be applied for, including a public inquiry. So that might slow the project down a bit. We will look into the matter further in the college of aldermen, also with regard to the new planting that they have to do with trees or shrubs to compensate for the felling.”
Mayor Horemans says that the municipality will continue to support the plans. “It is an important project for the municipality and for the football club, so we will continue to support it,” he says.