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LRM invests record amount to develop mine site into holiday park

The Limburg investment company Limburg Reconversie Maatschappij LRM plans to develop a 370-hectare holiday resort on the former mine site in Eisden. Of a total of seven earmarked zones, the biggest one will consist of a holiday park with 600 bungalows. Other facilities will include a sports zone, a retail zone, a wellness centre, the main entrance to the National Park Hoge Kempen and a 50-room hotel. This massive project, scheduled for completion in four years, will be christened Terhills named after the typical artificial mine dumps – the so-called terrils – which characterise the area. The investment company LRM was established in 1994, soon after the closure of the Limburg mines, and strives to live up to its name and support reconversion in the province. “The total investment budget is 150 million euros, but LRM will not be financing the entire amount,” says managing director Stijn Bijnen. “We will be launching a call of interest to attract a project investor and manager for the holiday park.” LRM will also seek private partners for the other zones. So far the company has pumped 20 million into the project. In the nineties Centerparcs decided to develop a holiday park in Eisden, but the developer eventually dropped the idea. Some years later the Dutch realty group Garderen & Dekker excited surrounding municipalities with their plans, but these were also scrapped as a result of a complaint from the Council of State and the zoning of the site as industrial area. “The Flemish region obviously didn’t know what to do with the site,” says LRM’s responsible minister, Flemish minister Ingrid Lieten SP.A. Thanks to a new Provincial Spatial Executive Plan the area has now been officially zoned as a holiday area and the project can go ahead. Before any building can however start, the area must first be developed by means of a link with the N75 and a building permit must be granted for the holiday park. The biggest challenge will be finding a suitable business manager” says mayor Lenssen from Maasmechelen. The LRM estimates that 1 250 jobs will eventually be created, which is very positive if one considers that unemployment in this region is higher than anywhere else in Flanders.