Blue Links, a leading EU-funded project for sustainable canal restoration
The restored canal from the Deûle to the Escaut will be a significant resource for tourism and leisure activities, associated with urban regeneration over a vast area.
The Blue Links project is a programme of works aiming to restore navigation on the Deûle - Escaut link. The Deûle - Escaut link is the canalised river Marque plus the Roubaix canal, in the North 'région' of France and the Espierre canal, in Hainaut and West Flanders in Belgium.
This comprehensive renovation programme is made possible by the mobilisation of the European Commission and various local authorities and public bodies in France and Belgium...
Blue Days 2009 event booking
Boat owners wishing to take part in the Blue Days rally and celebration on the week-end of September 18-20, 2009, may now register using the on-line registration form, giving all necessary details. Since the canal will be temporarily opened to stage the event, only registered boats will be accepted, and the organisers may have to limit the number. Early registration is therefore recommended. The form is to be filled in for all boats navigating on the canal, whether mooring for the event or taking part in one of the flotillas.
The main rally site will also have ample space for exhibition stands. Prospective exhibitors - local authorities, tourism agencies, boat builders and hirers, associations - and all service providers may also use this form, indicating arrival on a trailer and no craneage required. By definition, that means you will be part of the exhibition, and will be registered as such. Alternatively, contact the coordinator via the webmaster.
Boat owners will click on the larger-scale map within the form, to select their preferred mooring for the event - at the main rally site or at one of the other moorings along the canal.
Inaugural event in September 2009!
At their steering committee meeting on 24 October 2008, the Blue Links partners decided to organise a major event to inaugurate the canal on the week-end of 19/20 September 2009. By that date, the underpass below the Couteaux roundabout will have been completed, or at least works will have progressed to a stage allowing the canal to be reopened.
The canal will be opened at least one week before the event, to give boats taking part time to reach one of the designated mooring points. Procedures for registering to participate in the event will soon be published on this site.
Critical to completion of the project was the dredging and disposal of almost 200 000 m3 of sediment…
Works in progress
Cleaning and repairing Estaimpuis lock,
Opinions and ideas
Read comments and ideas from our visitors and from users of canals, and give your own advice and opinion for the Blue Links project.
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The Deûle-Escaut waterway is a key link in the centre of the 20 000 km network of inland waterways of North West Europe.
Press conference on October 10, 2008
Grimonpont lift bridge
The communes of Estaimpuis, Leers and Wattrelos hosted on 10 October 2008 a press conference which attracted about 50 people, including journalists from the local and national Press and TV. The event was organised to show the extent of the works completed since the Blue Links project started in 2005. In reality, many of the works could not begin until 2007 or even 2008, because of the highly complex procedures for the studies, administrative procedures and subsequent tendering. Welcomed at the Maison du Canal in Estaimpuis, the partners each presented their components of the project to about 15 journalists, before walking along the towpath to visit two key sites close to the border: the new Grimonpont lift bridge and the filter basins. Slimane Tir, vice-president of Lille Métropole in charge of the metropolitan parks department, took a small boat generously made available by the MET's depot in Comines, to be interviewed en route by France 3.
The movement to restore the canals abandoned by commercial traffic began in the UK 60 years ago. Now, in major metropolitan areas, canal restoration for leisure and tourism has become a key issue for mobility as well as for urban regeneration...
Locks on the Roubaix canal