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Dear Resident of St Genesius Roder,

Here you find a preview of what we want to achieve. You will be amazed what we can do to change things for the better, for yourself, your family, your friends and all Rodenaars.

We are committed to implement this program if you vote us into the majority. Persuade also your friends to vote for Respect, because on 14 October 2012 you will decide on the future of your town.

This program is not exhaustive. We count on you and please let us know your expectations and suggestions by emailing at this website.

Program of the RESPECT-list

 

1. A "community of warmth".

In a municipality with up to 80 different nationalities, there is a need for initiatives to help meet each other. There are already some good examples: the Roefeldag for children and the Boomgaard ["Orchard"] service centre where senior citizens can go for a chat, a snack, a course, a trip, advice ... They are demonstrations of a “community with warmth”, but there is so much more that could be done, and this for all residents.

RESPECT wants neighborhood get-togethers, neighborhood parties, fairs, Christmas markets, associations, sporting and cultural initiatives, a welcome for newcomers, integration and language initiation for speakers of other languages, ... encouragement and support. On all areas: a smooth and friendly lending service, financial support, providing barriers to ensure safety, etc ...

RESPECT wants the cultural centre, which is now underused, to become a real community centre; the local library to become a meeting place for different cultures, eg via playful language initiation for pre-school children and their parents, or reading sessions for toddlers and parents. These initiatives already take place, but they are little known and could easily be extended.

Volunteering has a cross fertilising effect, both for society and for the volunteer. RESPECT will encourage this by provinding information about the many opportunities and how to introduce a request for a free insurance from the provincial authorities.

RESPECT wishes to encourage non-Dutch speaking newcomers to participate in Dutch language courses to make living together in a community possible.

In collaboration with the association de Rand ["the Edge"] RESPECT will give each new resident a welcome pack in 4 languages to inform them about community services, clubs, courses and local shops: the more we do locally, the more togetherness, the less traffic ...

 

2. Security.

The role of the police is essential to counter theft, vandalism and neighborhood problems.

We have a professional and effective police force implementing a zonal security plan. This is regularly updated based on a strategic analysis of the region, a 4-yearly population survey and federal guidelines.

It is generally recognised that "our" police does an excellent job in breaking up gangs of thieves. However, the danger comes from outside our community and, hence, RESPECT wants to take drastic action:

  • More patrols
    The police was recently expanded by 20%. There are currently 6 district inspectors for 18 000 inhabitants -- that is 1 for every 3000 inhabitants. This may be better than the legal minimum of 1 for 4000 inhabitants, but criminal gangs migrate from the better protected areas in Brussels to less protected areas such as here in Rode. Often, only one patrol is on the road and that is enough. The police zone Rode-Drogenbos-Linkebeek is too small to have a second patrol constantly on the road. Therefore, RESPECT proposes a merger with the police zone of Beersel, which will increase the efficiency of our police.

  • Deal with the gangs and vandalism around the station
    At the request of the NMBS Railway Company, the police worked out an action plan, but it was not followed up, for unknown reasons. RESPECT will revisit this problem and propose for instance installing cameras.

  • Information of the population
    Did you know that, since several months, you can phone directly to your own community police officer? If he or she is not immediately accessible, you can leave a message and the police officer will call you back as soon as possible. The current majority in the municipal council does not find fit to share any useful information or telephone numbers through its community newspaper and website.

    Did you know that the police, although willing to publicize its work on burglary, drug and alcohol prevention, is not allowed to do this by the current majority.

  • The chaos at the school gate
    Almost daily there is a police presence at the school gate when school time begins and ends. Ideally, there should be two policemen, but, this doubling would be at the expense of the "Police Time" needed for instance for a second patrol at night or in the week-end. RESPECT therefore proposes that, like in Drogenbos, the school gate should be patrolled by Community Stewards (Stadswachters).

  • Traffic chaos in the narrow streets
    Complaints and suggestions from residents are just passed on by the mayor to the police. There is no working group on traffic, as in other municipalities. There is no follow up on the mobility studies that were carried out. In such circumstances, the police cannot solve the problems.

    RESPECT proposes a road safety group to address substantively the growing traffic issues.

  • Cleanliness and minor offenses
    The district inspector first gives a warning, allowing some time to take steps such as for de-icing pavements, trimming nuisance hedges, clearing dog excrement ... Only after a warning will a GAS (Municipal Administrative Sanction) be sent to the municipal authorities for follow-up. But this is rarely done.

 

3. Dialogue - Information - Consultation.

A good Council administration is in constant dialogue with its inhabitants, associations, officials and elected Councillors... in order to identify “the real needs” and define the best policy to follow. All residents must be informed about these decisions taken, the many public services and the funding possibilities of the various authorities.

Did you know that on the website of Sint-Genesius-Rode rarely is there a link to useful websites of other agencies, just because “this does not suit the current majority” ?

Did you know that the brochures of the Flemish authorities on important issues such as breast cancer prevention, subsidies for energy saving, information on dementia, etc are not distributed by the current municipal majority, but dumped in a container?

Did you know that in Rode, there is only one official advisory body: the Municipal Planning Committee. There are no other official advisory and consultative bodies: not for sports, youth or arts, not for senior citizens, environment or shop-keepers; there is not even a local consultation on childcare, although this is required by law. There is no coordination or policy for the care of sick children, day care, holiday care, after school childcare. There is no environmental plan, no cultural plan. Worse still, this majority is not willing to take advantage of various existing initiatives and grants from the Flemish government. Fortunately, there is "Edge" (www.derand.be), which unofficially tries to compensate for this lack of consultation and information, and this in different languages.

If you vote RESPECT into the new majority, we will ensure that there is a plan for child care, that on the municipal website you can click through to websites in various languages, that information brochures are distributed and that the advisory and consultative bodies be set up and function.

All forms must be digitally accessible and downloadable. Even with complaints and ideas, any citizen should be able to access an Ombudsman through the website.

Good planning and information about construction works and road diversions are a must, especially now that the GEN-work (Regional Express Network) work is getting underway.

The organization and opening hours of the municipal services should be more customer-friendly. The infrastructure in the town should promote a customer friendly touch.

Our well-trained officials should be consulted more and respected; efficient policies are prepared and elaborated in municipal committees

RESPECT wants to make it all work. But now we want to listen to you and welcome your ideas with your proposals for good governance. RESPECT stands for dialogue.

 

4. Services.

4.1 Childcare.

The obligatory "Local Childcare Consultation" has never been organized by the current majority. Hence, there was never a coordination or policy for the care of sick children, day care, holiday care, child care ... despite the many government initiatives and grants for this that the current majority do not take advantage of . RESPECT wants to redress this.

4.2 Service for seniors, disabled, disadvantaged, ...

Each municipality is obliged to have a Local Social Plan, to be established on the basis of a thorough dialogue with all stakeholders in this field, both private and public. The current majority limited itself to propose a "minimum plan". For RESPECT a LSP is an indispensable tool for a good social policy, and some feel we should be more ambitious. Ambition should not be a dirty word, and the higher the goals, the higher the achievements.

RESPECT believes in the support of self-care through eg, home help, home care, home adaptations, support from a strong social fabric and greater personal mobility.

REPECT wants access to all amenities and services for a social mix of the population, opposing the creation of ghettoes, promoting social innovation and solidarity between generations and cultures.

The retirement home Groene Linde no longer meets the standards and from this autumn will be partially rebuilt and replaced by a new building.

RESPECT wants the fees to remain affordable and to transform the old building of Groene Linde, if possible, into a subsidized housing or a day-care centre.

Rode has a well-functioning "social house", Magnolia, and a dynamic policy for seniors: home care, service flats, service centre, retirement home ... RESPECT wants to expand this on the basis of a senior needs assessment that is conducted and financed by the VUB University and the Province, and in which, many municipalities participated in. After much insistence by the current opposition, the current majority of Rode finally decided to join in, but only after the elections!? This is another example of an opportunity that the current majority for unknown reasons did not want to exploit.

Wist je dat de meerderheid niet wou meewerken aan de gratis screening borstkanker en dat de Mammobiel niet welkom was op het dorpsplein? Heeft taal hier iets mee te maken? Dankzij de provincie en vzw de Rand die de voorhof van GC de Boesdaalhoeve ter beschikking stelt, kan dit gelukkig doorgaan.

Did you know that the majority did not even want to participate in the free breast-cancer screening and that the Mammobiel was not welcome in the town square? Does language have anything to do with such matters? Thanks to the province and the association Rand as well as the courtyard that the GC Boesdaalhoeve makes available, this can fortunately continue.

4.3 Housing.

Almost every town has a "housing office" where people can go for information about construction, alteration, premiums, rent subsidies, social housing, cheap loans, spatial structure ... but not in Rode. And why do they not set up a collective purchasing system for energy?

Our neighbours Linkebeek and Drogenbos have started a "social letting office". Did you know that Rode refused to join this initiative, which is subsidized by the province? It is an ideal instrument to avoid empty houses and dilapidation.

Rode has only 1/5 of the average of social housing in Flanders. RESPECT will ensure that the project for the Red Nova site complies with the legal requirement for social housing. We will also negotiate with the Flemish Housing Association so that it invests in Rode.

There is also a need for emergency shelter. Recently, one was opened (the former ironing shop on the campus of the retirement home).

Residential homes must have the opportunity to respond to new residential formulas, adapted to the aging population such as kangaroo housing.

RESPECT wants an affordable, high quality, differentiated housing policy respecting the different housing needs (seniors, singles, disabled ...) with an eye for safety, traffic situation, and social cohesion and attuned to the daily needs of local residents.

The rural character of Rode must be respected. So, no high rises and no attack on the green space!

4.4 Education

REPECT wants quality education for every child with special focus on the complete development process such as multilingualism, creativity, health, physical movement, skills ... For such "complementary" aspects of education, the municipality can provide additional support to all schools in its territory, eg subsidising busses, extra-mural activities, language development ..etc.

Did you know that the current majority subsidises extra language teachers for the French-speaking school but not for the Dutch-speaking school? RESPECT wants extra teachers for all schools because every child deserves extra attention for learning languages.

Did you know that when the French-speaking parents of children in the Dutch-speaking school asked for extra Dutch language courses to get into this school, this was refused by the current majority, even though the GLTT was willing to offer this for free? Also in the GC Boesdaalhoeve you can find many welcoming initiatives around language, culture, integration. RESPECT supports these laudable initiatives.

In consultation with all organizations that offer language initiatives, we will explore ways and means to optimise multilingualism. If this requires that additional staff should be appointed, then this should be done for all schools in Rode.

4.5 Youth Policy

The current majority has no youth policy. There is no youth counselor, no municipal infrastructure or funding for youth. Young people organize themselves in the non-profit Youth Group Rode (Jeugdwerkgroep Rode) and take care of their own, asking for subsidies, whenever they are entitled to. RESPECT wants to recognize Rode Youth Group as a full municipal advisory body and to run a proper youth policy.

Youth is the future of our community, and so they must be given every chance. Sufficient meeting places and nice playgrounds areas are urgently needed.

We need to fully support the Youth Associations.

4.6 Culture - Sports - Tourism

Did you know that the current majority actually banned, instead of promoting, a number of initiatives to promote sport in the community? The "infants learn to ride" initiative was forbidden from accessing the municipal support infrastructure! The same for "initiation to lesser known sports". "De Gordel", a Flemish cycling classic since 32 years, it is no longer allowed to have a meeting point in Rode!

Did you know that the cultural centre Wauterbos, of which the annual maintenance and repair costs are very high, is barely used?

RESPECT wants it to become a genuine "community centre" with additional incentives for initiatives that bring the different communities closer together.

RESPECT will investigate whether the gym can be extended or whether a cooperation agreement can be finalised with the schools in order to allow access to their sports facilities to clubs from Rode.

Sports clubs play an important role, and therefore deserve support.

Jewel in the Flemish periphery: Our community is situated on the edge of the Forest of Soignes and has many beautiful nature spots that are often unknown. With a nicely built walking and cycling network, we want our town to be attractive for everyone who lives here and we want to invite people to come and discover our green community.

RESPECT wants to promote the Soignes Forest, the Waterloos field, the lakes of the Seven Springs valley for soft recreation, to promote well-maintained and signposted cycling and hiking trails and for, sports fans, a real mountain bike trail.

 

5. Rode, a green European town.

Our municipality is located in Flanders, bordering Brussels, "The European Capital", and Wallonia. The Flemish periphery is becoming more international. Our commune has more than 80 different nationalities. This location is creating many opportunities for our residents concerning employment, education, cultural activities, but it also poses problems which go far beyond the responsibilities and capabilities of our local authority. Congestion, public transport, cycling, environment, forestry and water management, affordability of building land and houses, large influx of foreigners in education, alienation and need for integration ... are challenges that a municipality such as Rode cannot handle alone.

Strong cooperation, not only inter-municipal, but also with higher levels of government such as the province of Flemish Brabant and the European institutions is desirable. Cross-regional solutions need to be found in full respect of the autonomy of the different institutions.

It is important that the European institutions are also invited. Europe encourages and subsidizes interregional cooperation with the aim to know each other better, learn from each other, care for the environment, for the citizens who are less fortunate, to inject a social and economic stimulus.

RESPECT wants Rode to better defend its own interests (eg viz a viz the NMBS Railways, the STIB, De Lijn buses, road maintenace).

 

6. Village centers and local economy.

Dynamic village centres are the engine of a vibrant local community.

Rode has many centres: the town square, De Hoek, Ten Broek, Ter Kluizen, het Koningsplein,… Several of these nuclei need redevelopment, without which the local economy will find it difficult to survive. The town centre has for years been plagued by flooding.

RESPECT wants beautiful dynamic town centres which are easily accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. In order to achieve this, RESPECT shall consult with all stakeholders and external experts to create a complete concept from which everyone will benefit.

One line of thought: the reinvigoration of the centre through beautiful and safe pathways with benches at strategic places to rest and to chat. Throughout the pathway, dwelling and service flats should be connected to the shops and cafes in the town. The sports centre, cultural centre, the library, the planned green novarode-site should also be found on this path.

Village centres should be pleasant and inviting for people to linger.

 

7. Planning, environment and water management.

The uniqueness of our town - several small town centres with lots of greenery and residential areas without high-rises - we want to maintain this and to develop it further.

Did you know that our municipality is the only one in the region that has not signed the cooperation agreement with the Regional landscape?

Work should be undertaken urgently concerning the RUP's (Regional Implementation Plans) so that there is finally a legal certainty for those who live in zonevreemd area.

Did you know that Rode has no environmental agreement or cooperation agreement with the Department of Environment, Nature and Energy. Even the basic package and, therefore a good basis, and a grant of 34,000 € per year, is missing?

Where sewers need to be replaced it is a legal requirement that wastewater and rain water are disposed of separately. Many municipalities provide a subsidy for houses to be connected to this new infrastructure. Not in our town.

In our town there is no environmental council, no environmental policy and therefore no initiative on environment: no information on composting, gardening, recycling, energy conscious life ...

However, we have an active nature associations but they are not heard by the majority.

The container park can be more than just a dumping ground for waste. There is still room for demonstrations on composting and in Rode we have trained composters that can provide a solution to excessive (and expensive) green waste. Did you know that these trained composters have unfortunately not been seen by the Mayor?

 

8. Order and cleanliness.

Dirt attracts dirt! Everyone in Rode knows them: the overflowing public waste bins. Or maybe not, because IC-GB want to keep public waste bins to a minimum. They also do not want to provide for example any more playgrounds, by doing so they engage in abandonment ...

There could be much more attention paid to illegal dumping and pollution in general, and these practices to be actually fined.

Footpaths should be better maintained! The municipality must set an example to the people and the with a litter warden to speak to offenders.

Did you know that Sint-Genesius-Rode one of the 3 municipalities in Flemish-Brabant region that does not discuss the offer from Haviland to provide 80,000 free dog fouling bags and pouches?

The station area lies neglected and attracts a lot of vandalism. The dirt around the glass spheres are not really what we want to act as a first impression for rail travellers who alight in Rode. The development of the RER (Regional Express Rail) could be protracted. RESPECT thinks that in anticipation of this, some simple embellishment with flowers, better bicycle parking, CCTV and police patrols can be put to use in the station.

 

9. Financial policy.

We live in one of the richest municipalities of the country, with a large financial reserve, but with a low investment grade.

The services and investments are therefore in keeping with this: a village centre and station area in urgent need of refurbishment, the swimming pool that has waited too long for repairs, a cultural centre where the technical system is hopelessly outdated, a shortage of affordable housing ...

Did you know that the majority of people almost never make use the many subsidies made available by provincial, Flemish and European governments?

Some examples of missed grants:

  • The Flemish housing associated was prepared in SGR to build social housing its own expense. Rode is indeed far below the Flemish average. This majority has long been denied. Thanks to our Flemish aldermen, an agreement has now been reached for the construction of a 10-flats complex Lindestraat.
  • For 20 years the site of a Novarode has been an eyesore in the middle of the village. This paper mill is an important industrial and archaeological site, however, the municipality has made no attempt to develop it into a versatile new social destination and make a request for European funds for the renovation. In neighbouring municipalities this has already happened. A purely commercial real estate project is just beginning and we are fumbling in the dark over the number of planned social housing.
  • The Flemish government provides financial incentives for good cultural policy, good environmental policy, ... This majority is never in on it.
  • The province provides funding for bike paths, for the strengthening of trade centres for youth-friendly public spaces, ...

 

10. Mobility.

Did you know that the majority already has undertaken 2 expensive mobility studies? In May 2009, it carried out a shortcut of the mobility plan of 2003 in order to test its current application. The decision was mobility should be widened and deepened in 4 areas: parking, the station area and categorisation of roads, and speed regulations on the local and supra-local cycle network. The plan anticipates results on in the course of 2009-2010.

Have you heard or seen any of these results? In all probability there will be "great promises" for the next legislative period! This typifies the method of the present majority, "We are working on it.", but nothing happens… RESPECT will move rapidly forward in order to implement the mobility plan!

Did you know that the majority has overseen the reduction of car sharing from 69% (1991) to 50% (2010) for home-to-work and from 45% to 30% for home-to-school trips? Given the gridlock on the Zoniënwoudlaan this does not seems very successful. The green way on that avenue is also confusing, all to often you find yourself struggling from red light to red light, even if you obey the speed limits ...

RESPECT wants STOP principle taken into account, i.e. that priority is given to Steps, Stairs, Public Transport, Cars, all in this in this order.

Where are the slow roads in our town? They are ideal for pedestrians and cyclists to get to their destination safely. RESPECT wishes to identify them and make them accessible in order that more people would make use of them.

This mobility plan envisages the establishment of quality bicycle paths and reliable bicycle facilities. How many kilometres of bicycle paths have been constructed in recent years? Since 2003? Is this the way that a decent bicycle network will be established?

Sidewalks are also a problem. You only have to ask somebody who needs a wheelchair or walker. Even with a stroller you often encounter problems. RESPECT will demand attention be paid when designing pavements and pedestrian crossings.

Footpaths are not car parks! RESPECT demands stronger action against vicarious parking, speed demons and overloaded trucks. The deployment of the police officer would play an important role.

Have you heard of a school accessibility map? RESPECT want to be able to bring our children in the safest way possible from different locations in our community.

"If you took the train you would already be there" ... It is still not clear for SNCB how many more trains on the line after RER (Regional Express Rail) work is completed and to where they will operate. RESPECT believes that the local pressure, together with that from the other municipalities on the line, should be brought on the SNCB to ensure that trains continue to connect Brussels-South & Central and travellers are not be diverted to Brussels-West and then have to take the metro to get near the Manneken Pis. Even still "The train always a little bit travelling" ...

Needless to say that works, especially in such large-scale projects such as the RER, there is a need for a clearer and more effective communication strategy regarding the commencement and duration of the work needed?

The majority has to date never dare decide to introduce one way traffic as foreseen in the mobility plan. Only a few one way streets here and there one-way is not a coherent solution. Other municipalities have ventured, people get used to the one way system after a while and it facilitates traffic flow. RESPECT would like to further develop this.

Finally RESPECT is of the opinion that the mobility plan goes hand in hand with the spatial structure of our municipality. This means that home extensions should be in existing settlements, that the green and open spaces should be kept, that a rational construction of car parks must happen, that Rode is not suitable for the construction of business except along Waterloosesteenweg or road to Halle in order to prevent further isolation of the town centres.

RESPECT will put the mobility plan into operation.