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Michel JANUTH, Mayor of Tubize, Source: Municipality of Tubize / TheMayor.EU

Michel Januth: Our city has a multi-faceted identity in perpetual development

Michel Januth: Our city has a multi-faceted identity in perpetual development

Interview with the Mayor of Tubize, Belgium

Michel Januth has been the Mayor of the Walloon city of Tubize since 2012, and since 2020 also the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Union of Cities and Towns in charge of housing issues.

Former cabinet assistant to the Minister of Housing, Heritage and Budget of the Walloon Region (1991-1993), and Landscape architect in the technical service of the Province of Brabant.

The English translation has been shortened for clarity.

Mr Januth, could you briefly present the Municipality of Tubize?

Anchored at the gates of Brussels and Flanders, within the Roman Païs of Brabant, Tubize is distinguished by its exceptional industrial past and by its geographical division offering marvellous landscapes.

But it does not stop there ... The city of Tubize reveals the glorious footsteps of its past through its three traditional villages: Saintes, Oisquercq and Clabecq, but also through its monuments and folklore.

For several years now, our city has experienced unprecedented development. On the demographic side, many new residents settle here each year.

Our entity is also experiencing economic and cultural development (multiple cultural activities for young and old are offered and within a few years we will have one of the most modern cultural centres of Walloon Brabant); and finally, we have important sports centres (our City has the honour to welcome on its territory the national football centre, the seat of the Belgian Football Federation as well as that of the Belgian Cycling league).

We are also fortunate to have on our territory the Coeurcq waterfall, the second-highest natural waterfall of Belgium with a drop of 7.80 meters.

As you might have noticed, the identity of our city is multi-faceted and in perpetual development.

Have you implemented any special measures to combat the effects of the pandemic at the local level?

Yes, these include:

  • Measures taken for the staff of the City of Tubize (purchase of FFP2 masks + fabrics, hydroalcoholic gels, restriction of citizen appointment, teleworking, etc.);
  • Measures taken for our fellow citizens (wearing a mask is compulsory in the hyper centre);
  • Reorganization of the weekly market.

You were affected by the virus in the fall. How this experience helped you manage and communicate the pandemic?

We realised:

  • The importance of strict respect for restrictive measures;
  • The importance of limiting contacts, which was not easy to apply as my position requires me to be in contact with people;
  • That no one is immune;
  • That vaccination is the only way out of this crisis.

Once the pandemic is under control, what changes will you maintain for your administration?

  • Teleworking;
  • Use of videoconference meetings;
  • Specific hygiene measures and adaptation of the premises.

Finally, would you like to share a project or a successful experience fro, your city with the other European mayors?

This would be the Projet Europan / Quartier des Confluents – Reconversion of Forges de Clabecq site

In April 2017, the City of Tubize, Duferco Wallonia and Europan Belgium decided to participate in the Europan XIV competition. The objective was to benefit from the new ideas of talented architects and to share thoughts on the issue of housing and town planning on a European scale.

The 14th edition of the competition was attended by some 45 European localities from 13 different countries. In January 2018, the City of Tubize was declared the winner of the competition with a project presented by the Portuguese architect Mr Humberto Pereira.

This Europan project will take place on the site of the former Forges de Clabecq, which is quite symbolical.

This project will eventually include:

  • A new cultural centre
  • A wellness centre
  • A hotel complex and a serviced residence

This project will be included in the Quartier des Confluents, which will include:

  • 671 accommodations
  • A nursery with 42 places
  • An outlet mall of 12,000 m2 of commercial surface area
  • Local shops
  • Services and liberal professions
  • A medical centre
  • Horeca spaces
  • A leisure centre
  • An Escalade and adventure park
  • An indoor electric kart track
  • 8000 m2 of urban agriculture area

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