Municipality of Nissewaard is linking opportunities presented by sheet piling replacement
Over the next four years, the municipality of Nissewaard will be replacing 20 kilometres of sheet piling in Spijkenisse. Sheet piling involves a wooden, steel, or plastic structure that protects shores, banks, and gardens against water. The sheet piling structures are located along several drainage canals and along 500 house gardens. While the sheet piling work is being carried out, residents will have the opportunity to have their gardens greened and climate-proofed. Nissewaard is thus combining a spatial tasking with adaptation measures and measures aimed at fostering biodiversity.
What exactly does the work involve?
Many of the sheet piling structures in Spijkenisse need replacing. Verkuil & Moree contractors will be carrying out the replacement. Local residents may request the contractors to green and climate-proof their gardens while they are at it. For example, tiles may be replaced with greenery, downspouts may be connected to a rain barrel, or insect hotels may be put up. This project ties in with a previous pilot in Nissewaard, aimed at encouraging residents to green their property.
How is the municipality helping residents to make a choice?
Before the contractors embark on their work, a municipal environment manager will visit the residents to discuss their options. The environment manager can also give tips on potential green measures to be implemented in the garden. The municipality is encouraging residents, in addition to simple steps, also to opt for major measures such as constructing a green façade, a rainwater fence, or a vegetable garden.
What are the results?
The municipality of Nissewaard has conducted surveys among the residents involved. According to these surveys, more than 20 per cent of the residents who previously were unconcerned with climate adaptation are now taking an interest in the matter. During the first round of work, 30 per cent took advantage of the offer to have their gardens greened, to have a rain barrel connected, or to have an insect hotel put up.
Lessons to be learned
This project has generated the following lessons to be learned:
- Initially, some residents were hesitant about the project, but in many cases they joined in once they had had some time to think about it. The project planning allows them four to six weeks’ time for reflection. Personal interviews with a representative of the municipality also help to win residents over.
- Involving residents in spatial maintenance that is due anyhow enhances the appeal of a project. When work is being scheduled, residents want to know what is going to happen. Consequently, such work often entails a good opportunity to broach the subject of greening or climate adaptation with residents. Without such a link, many residents tend to take a negative stance.
- Municipalities should refrain from giving their residents an abundance of choices and shoulder the burden for participating residents: put up the insect hotel for them and connect the rain barrel for them. This makes participation more appealing to residents.