Mayor of Ostend calls on federal authorities to help prevent a flood of people descending on the coast

While the Mayor of the West Flemish coastal city of Ostend Bart Tommelein (liberal) is pleased that the shops will be allowed to reopen again from Tuesday, he told VRT Radio 1 that it will bring with it a number of additional concerns. In an interview with the morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, Mr Tommelein said that although Ostend is big enough to accommodate its permanent residents and those with second homes there he fears that thousands of others are getting ready to visit the popular seaside destination on day trips.

He adds that the free “Hello Belgium” rail pass that was handed out under the previous federal government will make for crowded trains to and from the coast.

"At lot is being asked of Mayors and city authorities. We have to ensure that all is in order and have to pick up the bill for this ourselves. If everything isn’t in order, we won’t be allowed to organise Shopping Sundays. I think that this is all fine and well, but it needs to come from both sides. I expect extra efforts on the part of the Federal Government, the Belgian rail company NMBS and the Federal Police Service”, Mr Tommelein said.

He added that it is unacceptable that NMBS still doesn’t have a reservation system. Once again, he is asking the Interior Minister to dispatch the Railway Police to Ostend if the station becomes overcrowded.

"It is ridiculous that when people are sitting in carriages that are full to the rafters because no checks are carried out that they demand that we ensure that everything in the shopping streets is organised perfectly”.


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