“Silence is a precious asset, says socialist Kurt De Loor. “In our busy lifes we easily lower the priority on silence and tranquility, whereas silence brings tranquility and tranquility reduces stress. Less stress improves our mental and physical health, which is of high value to our socialist party.” He believes it is not easy to make a city more quiet, since citizens want a lively city and liveliness implies noise.
De Loor sums up the historical efforts of Zottegem: “The past years, we did try to introduce more nature and tranquility into our busy city, e.g. with the new Beislovenpark. This inner-city park allows citizens to get at ease in their own city center. The town of Zottegem also defined a development plan with the regional agency Regionaal Landschap Vlaamse Ardennen to add more pathways for slow non-motorised traffic, which allows people to e.g. take a quiet walk with their dog. Moreover, in the Breivelde park domain there is already a 14 ha park for each of our citizens, and we also have the Mijnwerkerspad walking and biking trail that allows people to enjoy the tranquility.”
De Loor also wants to reduce traffic by creating a new global mobility plan for the entire town: “We want to map the traffic flow and create a safe livable plan, that works for each and everyone. We’d like to experiment with a traffic-free centre to reduce the noise in the city center, because noise is the enemy of silence.” In order to achieve this, De Loor wants to join forces with the citizens and increase citizen participation. “We want to install a district budget to give citizens, associations, and neighborhood comittees the chance to create a district project and decide together with their neighbors how the district should evolve. They – more than others – speak from experience.”