Dirk Van den Broeck, 80, is a resistance fighter. A resistant with a very big mind. While all his neighbors in the Geerdegemvaart have been expropriated – their house was bought to redevelop the street to accommodate a new station in Mechelen – the octogenarian’s house is still standing. And Dirk will be able to continue to live in the place where he spent more than 40 years. Even if he has to live in the middle of a roundabout for that.
“The view I have here is wonderful and it has only gotten better. I have a clear view of the new station. It’s particularly magical at night, ”he laughs in the columns of the Gazet van Antwerpen. He admits all the same to having been surprised by the proximity of the buses, even if he had been warned of the arrangements that were going to be made. “It’s a temporary situation, but it will last a few years. Later, a new bridge will be built for the buses”, explains the alderman for mobility of the city.
But that doesn’t worry Dirk that much. His only concern: the noise of the engines. “Drivers will be able to take their break here. So I asked for a sign for them to turn off their engine. I would also like to have a slightly higher hedge,” explains the octogenarian who has been struggling since 2013 to stay there.
Initially, the project was not to be of such magnitude. But plans have changed, contrary to Dirk’s wishes. “I absolutely wanted to stay here. I was a bit older at the time and didn’t feel like moving. “He finally won his case because his expropriation was “legally difficult”, explains our Flemish colleagues. “In 2014, I reached an agreement with the city: I can continue to live in my house and then the city can have it”.
And the man concludes with a sad reality: “If one day the house is gone, people will know that I am dead. »