Location: Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium
Duration: 1 month
Client: Flemish Region, Department of Environment, Roads and Traffic
CONTEXT & OBJECTIVE
In May 2017, the Council of State definitively disbanded the plans for the diversion road around the centers of Houthalen-Helchteren. The Flemish Government subsequently decided to treat the missing link file between Hasselt and Eindhoven as a "complex project" under the leadership of the Environment Department and the Roads and Traffic Agency.
The approach through the "complex project" procedure means that the project runs through a new step-by-step plan and there is room for new and diverse input. All goals, thinking tracks, challenges of today and the bigger picture are back on the table. Every step in the procedure is participatory, in close consultation with all stakeholders and interested parties. The work of recent years is not lost. It is valuable discussion material that will help us move forward faster.
In the first phase and exploration phase, there were two main objectives:
• To arrive at a clear problem definition and project objectives that were supported by as many stakeholders as possible.
• Mapping out the main lines of the process.
Participation is very important in this phase, thus Createlli was commissioned to organize effective participation with the citizens.
The participation project
• Together with the project team of the Flemish Government - Department of Environment and Agency for Roads and Traffic - Createlli drew up the process and participation plan.
• A big support was done on communication, both to the press and on social media
• With our participation app we launched an online survey and registration for the consultation and information moment. In this way, citizens from the wider area could also express their opinion without being physically present.
• We facilitated the information and consultation moment together with the experts from the government and bundled the results into a report.
• 200 citizens took part, thanks to good communication a very diverse audience was reached, such us local residents, road users, midfield, etc.
• 58 people gathered in the information and consultation moment; there were two different processes for both the very involved citizens and the ones who mainly came for information.
• We collected 355 qualitative contributions and suggestions from participants, summarized in 19 needs and opportunities, both for mobility and for spatial, environmental aspects.