Knokke Mayor starts big campaign against artificial island

Knokke-Heist Mayor Leopold Lippens has launched a major counter-attack against plans for an artificial island off the Knokke coast. The Mayor has been opposed to the plans for some time now, but is stepping up efforts as the local  elections are coming nearer. 

The island would be created 1 kilometre off the Knokke coastline. The government argues it can help to protect the north stretch of the Belgian coast against heavy storms. Lippens has asked the help of a specialised law firm and a communication agency to stop the plans. An awareness campaign will be started, he added. 

Lippens is convinced that an island so close to the beach will deter tourists. He adds that water recreation will become impossible due to the absence of waves. He also fears pollution, as a canal will be dug between the beach and the island to allow ships to pass. "We will create an open sewer of oil and garbage." 

The Flemish nationalists of N-VA, who are on the opposition benches in Knokke, have accused Lippens of spreading fears "using false information and distorted facts."