The Perkpolder used to be a busy ferry-port, but after construction of the Westerschelde tunnel somewhat further west the ferry connection was shut down and the terminal area started to degrade. The Dutch government (Rijkswaterstaat, the Province of Zeeland and the Municipality of Hulst) proposed a revitalization project to boost the local economy, to enhance the quality of life and to create additional nature areas as a compensation measure for other projects nearby. Additionally, authorities recognized the opportunity to integrate innovative flood protection into the design.
The decision to revitalise the Perkpolder area was initiated by a cooperation of the local, provincial and national governments. They saw the opportunity of an integrated plan that would benefit the economy, the inhabitants and the environment.
The solution of the Perkpolder project includes an innovative flood protection scheme and an integral design, based on the vision named "enjoying the elements", in which living, recreation and nature are combined. The heart of the polder will become an exclusive residential complex and the eastern part will be turned into a nature reserve. Moreover, the whole polder will be protected against flooding following the principle of managed realignment: the old dike will be breached after a new one has been be built further inland and the area in between is left to nature and can serve as a floodplain to storm surges..
Governance concerning this project aims at collaboration. Different levels of government combined their forces to initiate the project and the planning, design and construction phases were executed by various parties in cooperation. Moreover, stakeholder and public participation has been integrated in the project from the beginning.
More information on the governance aspects in projects can be found on the Governance pages of the guideline.
The first design of the project was created through a number of workshops. All parties involved contributed to in five creative ateliers. First an analysis of the area was made and secondly a revitalization strategy was developed. This approach kick-started the project and within three months an initial design had been made.
The design of the Perkpolder project is part of an integrated regional development plan in which flood control, environmental and socio-economic factors are included in the design. The design consists of residential, recreational and nature areas. In the center of the area an exclusive residential complex will be created on top of a landfill. More recreation will be created by a marina, holiday residential units in the polder, an upgrade of the beach and a golf course. A nature reserve will be created in the east of the polder. Between the breached old dike and the new one a saltmarshes area will develop.
In the feasibility phase a feasibility study by landscape and real-estate developers was carried out, as well as a cost-benefit analysis. The latter showed that the project would add value to entire region. The creation of nature would positively affect the residential and recreational value; new jobs would be created and the environmental value would increase. The outcome of this analysis gave the various public entities a positive impulse to commit themselves to the realization of the project.
A joint communication strategy mainly focused on the broad public was part of the project. A sounding board included representatives of relevant social groups. Moreover, the local population was informed via information evenings, the project website and the Municipality’s newspaper.
The design procedure for the Perkpolder project led to a multi-functional design with due attention for the natural component. The flood protection scheme with the dike realignment and the adaptive saltmarsh is an example of building with (and to a certain extent by) nature.
The project is still in the planning phase. No construction planning has been made yet.
Not applicable yet.
Although the project is still under development, a number of lessons have already been learned from the project, on the process as well as on the flood protection scheme.
The structure to include all relevant parties in the process has the benefit that public and private parties will complement each other. If the parties are sufficiently motivated, this structure will lead within a short time to a creative and solid plan with broad support. Creativity tends to be enhanced in a positive process with people from different backgrounds, although it may take more time, especially due to cultural differences.
The Perkpolder flood protection scheme is expected to be successful because it is integrated within the regional development plan. A flood protection plan can have major environmental impacts (space claims, view, groundwater table, etc.), but if it is integrated in a multi-functional framework, it may work out positively. In the Perkpolder case, landfills and new nature areas will enable creating exclusive residential units in an attractive environment.
ComCoast. 2007. Project Perkpolder. Project Management Perkpolder, Rijkswaterstaat DWW, Delft (in Dutch)