Source: BN DeStem | © BN De Stem - Paul Verlinden 18-05-23
The area beyond the main roundabout where most visitors enter the marina is called De Schakel. Most of the site is still undeveloped, even though it was announced in 2019 that it would become a lively location with a supermarket, a hotel, other catering and recreation facilities and companies or offices.
The procedure to change the zoning plan for De Schakel took much longer than expected. In the end, the city council of Drimmelen gave it a green light last week, so that the transition can now really begin.
Meanwhile, temporary permits have been granted. For example, a Spar supermarket could be opened in 2019. Last year, however, it stopped because the store was not profitable. A new supermarket will not be built for the time being, said alderman Tim Simons in the city council last week. “As long as the houses on the Rietlanden are not there, it is difficult to operate a supermarket there all year round,” says Simons.
The Rietlanden is an area in the marina where approximately two hundred homes may be built. If that plan goes ahead, a market will be created (with people who live there, current residents of the village of Drimmelen and passers-by in the marina) that may be large enough to support a supermarket.
Visitors to the marina (and possibly also residents from the village) will soon be able to visit a mini-market that will be located next to restaurant Boeien at the marina. The choice will not be very large there, but all basic products will be available, so that people do not necessarily have to drive to Made or Geertruidenberg. The mini-market will probably open in June.
At the roundabout at the entrance of the marina, De Sloep has now acquired more and more functions under one roof: sloops can be rented, there is a brasserie, the VVV Drimmelen has had a well-attended desk there for a year, and there is a reception for the adjacent Hotel Biesbosch.
This hotel opened a year ago and is steadily expanding, which is relatively easy thanks to a modular construction system. Initially, the hotel consisted of 16 rooms. The next phase is almost completed, increasing the number of rooms to 28. Eventually there will be at least 43 rooms (and possibly 10 more).
“We had counted on an occupancy rate of 75 percent, but we are at 98 percent”
Marjolein van Schendel, Hotel Biesbosch
The hotel has been a success from the start, says co-owner Marjolein van Schendel. “We are always full. We had counted on an occupancy rate of 75 percent, but we are at 98 percent. Even through the winter it was busy. Many business travellers in particular have found their way here.”
Tackling the road system
The land in De Schakel is owned by Jachthaven Biesbosch. According to spokesperson Maarten Voskuil, the adoption of the zoning plan clears the way to turn it into a real ‘harbour heart', with activity and recreational opportunities. There are no concrete plans yet. “First we will now tackle the road structure, so that De Schakel will become safer and clearer to navigate in that area,” says Voskuil.