By Olimatou Coker
Bart Tommelien, Mayor of Ostend city in Belgium, has said the Ostend project is not important to only him but for the city and Europe, reiterating that they believe that they can help in the efforts to safeguard the climate and to produce renewable energy.
Mayor Bart made these remarks recently during his visit at the Ostend project sites.
He added that the project is a big opportunity for Banjul, adding that the ongoing construction at Crab Island is very impressive and the mangrove site will create more tourism development in The Gambia.
Tommelien reiterated the importance of the visit and that the project fits within the ambition of the city, adding that he believes cities are the most important organizations in the future for humanity.
”This is my first time in the Gambia and I am visiting the project of the Europeans and that’s very important because the two cities have the same goal, which is about climate change, recycling and renewable energy. We have seen that these goals are the same for Banjul and Oostende city,” he said.
Mayor Bart added that the expectations are high, adding that there is lot of work to do to make the cities future proof.
“We have somethings to do in Ostend in Europe and Banjul City Council has things to do here as well. I have visited different places of the mangrove because it is important to preserve the nature for the tourist sector as well.”
At the former Upper Basic School of Crab Island, the Mayor was introduced to the ongoing renovation works which aim to turn the school into a centre for sustainable development, innovation, learning and culture. The Mayor was also introduced to the inner city greening team and was able to witness how hundreds of trees have been planted in the streets of Banjul.
At the beach of Banjul, he inspected the over 4000 planted coconuts which will help protect Banjul in the future and fight coastal erosion.
Implementation of accessible healthcare and hygiene education and practices, the project also seeks to explore potential medical plants that can enhance access to medical needs.
As part of the City Link Ostend-Banjul partnership for sustainable city development project, Mayor and team visited the Eye Clinic and the Burnt unit at the EFSTH, which will undertake a comparative research into using fresh leaves of Aloe Vera to treat second degree burn wounds in children.
Phebian Ina Grant Sagnia, health consultant for City Link Ostend Banjul Project, noted that the Aloe Vera fresh leaf is effective for burn wounds, adding that protocols have been prepared by the research team to burn wound patients as part of the ethics of health care.
“We do a daily dressing here in collaboration with the GRCS, nurses, doctors, other volunteer lab scientists, and researchers from the UTG, since we started this treatment they have 4 patients currently and 1 who is under the pilot because the burn unit accommodates 5 patients,” she explained.
Mayor Bart Tommelien was accompanied to The Gambia by Silke Beirens – Deputy Mayor of Ostend City Council, Margot Neyskens – Head of Staff Mayor; Jonas Scherrens – Project Coordinator and Jeffrey Roos – Journalist.