Belgium: Roeselare breaks ground on 30 ha greenhouse business park

Last Friday, 7 September, celebrations were held at the start of the development of nearly 30 hectares of greenhouse horticulture in Roeselare. Present at the start of the project as involved parties were the city of Roeselare, the West Flemish Intercommunale (WVI), Environmental Care Roeselare and Menen (MIROM) and the REO Auction.



Roeselare forms the focal point in the vegetable cultivation at the Flemish level, with the share of vegetable greenhouse cultivation playing an ever increasing important role in greenhouse horticulture. In order to continue to meet the growing demand to create extra space, a solution was searched for: the sustainable clustering of various greenhouse horticulture businesses in a business park. "In 2008, the area was selected as an agricultural business zone. This way the necessary legal certainty for the sector to invest was created," says Mayor Kris Declercq.
A first
Commissioned by the city, WVI, together with MIROM, is developing this sustainable, large-scale greenhouse horticulture zone. The almost 30 ha site is a first for Flanders. "In addition to the regular utilities (water, electricity and natural gas), the sites will be provided with residual heat from the MIROM incinerator, but also the presence of the REO Auction has an advantage when we think about handling and logistics," Geert Sanders, general manager of WVI, adds. "For example, the REO Auction will build a common logistic sub-site, where the growers will be able to collect their goods and have them packaged, after which they will be transported directly."
 
At the end of 2015, WVI started with the issuance process whereby the project was officially presented to the greenhouse horticulture sector. After an intensive selection process, 2 regional growers were designated for the zone where they were given the opportunity to be the first to invest in the area. Also on 7 September, the first grower, Tomco bvba from Ardooie, had started with the construction of their company. Two large water basins had already been realized, in collaboration with contractor Cnockaert.
"At the moment the discussions with a second regional grower are in full swing", says Geert Sanders, general manager WVI. "Each of them aims to realize an investment of around 10 ha of greenhouse. A major advantage is that the land is issued through building rights instead of sale. Thus, the growers do not need to pre-invest in land, it allows them to rely on the necessary long-term securities that make efficient financing possible."
Residual heat
"In addition to the traditional CHP heat and CO2 generation, we will work with residual heat from MIROM", Koen Van Overberghe, General Director of MIROM joins in. "This thermal energy is a good addition to the total energy supply from the installed CHP installations."
Logistical partner
The REO Auction will be the logistic partner par excellence with a common logistics sub-site on the location. The REO Auction played a facilitating role in the drafting of the construction paperwork, but together with the sector, it is putting its weight behind the ideas and research work in order to come to the realization of this greenhouse horticulture zone.
The REO Auction has been at the forefront of the development of a greenhouse horticulture zone from the very beginning. The concept of greenhouse parks was also an idea of honorary director Noël Keersebilck.

"The future and the image of Roeselare as a horticulture region will be strengthened with the arrival of this greenhouse horticulture zone", concludes Mayor Kris Declercq. "By clustering the horticulture companies in the Roeselare region and feeding them with residual heat from MIROM, both sustainability and economies of scale are created."

Source: WVI

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