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Permanent committee of the 7th February : A crucial step for the construction of the New Coastal Road

The Permanent Committee of the Regional Council was held today at the Pierre Lagourgue Regional Council building, chaired by Didier Robert. The regional councillors examined around 30 reports concerning the program of the New Coastal Road, other roads, biodiversity, the environment, education and the local economy.

A crucial step for the construction work of the New Coastal Road

NEW COASTAL ROAD : approval of declaration of project as a Public Interest Project.

The New Coastal Road is undoubtedly one of the three large-scale construction projects of Reunion Island, the financing of which has been guaranteed by the new Matignon Agreements ; a structuring and strategic infrastructure for the economy of the island and the life of its inhabitants, it is one of the priorities defined by the new Regional Council team. Several stages have been applied and accelerated since March 2010, in order to construct this safe modern road in the shortest time possible, while respecting regulatory requirements. The results of the public enquiry that was held in October 2011 showed that users are in favour of the construction of this safe road and they wish for access from both the north and the west to be facilitated, in order to relieve the congestion and make the traffic more fluid.
During the session, the regional councillors (with the exception of the elected members of the communist group/Alliance and the Socialist) accepted to take into consideration the recommendations of the enquiry committee, as well as the declaration of the New Coastal Road as a Public Interest Project. The elected members approved continuation of the procedure with the declaration of public interest of the construction and the compatibility of the PLU (Urban planning project) of Saint-Denis and La Possession with the NCR project.

Housing in Reunion Island : The Regional Council approves the protocol to improve social housing.

During the plenary assembly held on 17th November, the President of the Regional Council Didier Robert proposed that the Regional Council should take concrete action in the field of social housing in Reunion Island. In order to meet the objectives of sustainable planning and respond to the lack of social housing in Reunion, the French government and the Regional Council have taken measures that will be used to apply the decisions and objectives of the SAR (Regional Planning Project) (notably to take action in favour of high-quality sustainable towns and contribute to making available plots of land for social housing).
This proposal was unanimously approved by the elected members of the assembly. On Tuesday 7th February, the regional councillors adopted and approved the memorandum of understanding between the French government and the Regional Council, aimed at improving availability of social housing.

In addition, still in the field of accommodation, a budget of €2,532,929 has been set aside in favour of the Regional Council co-financing the project “the primary ZAC network of La Saline in the municipality of Saint-Paul”, in accordance with the project entitled “FRAPU planning for social purposes” of the project contract.

Roads : over €24 million : for upkeep and planning over the whole island

The Regional Council is responsible for construction and maintenance of the main roads over the whole island. The elected members approved programming of construction projects to the amount of €24 261 500, €15 872 000 of which has been allocated to various works (vertical and horizontal road signs – operations to repair the nets and occasional safety work on the coastal road – small-scale repairs to bridges, etc.), as well as approving the other section of the budget, allocated to work aimed at reinforcing road surfaces and repairs to verges.

Action plan following the fire in Le Maïdo : €424,000 for ONF (National Forestry Office) and the National Park

After the fires that devastated the Forest of Le Maïdo in October 2011, the Regional Council committed itself through a plan of action for :

1) Supporting the economic actors (emergency measures for farmers, renovation of hillside storage reservoirs, support for tourism)

2) Restoring the forest, including creating 20 jobs for Ecoguards for the National Park and 400 green jobs to take care of the exceptional sites

3) Reinforcing prevention and the fight against fires (program to rebuild new hillside storage reservoirs, to restore and maintain forest tracks etc.). Specifically for this aspect, the elected members approved a subsidy of €434,000 to the ONF and the National Park, to purchase vehicles to be used by staff for carrying out green jobs and teams cutting down burnt trees, as well as for the struggle against erosion and against plants choking up gullies and safety of footpaths, etc.

Environment : Creation of a Marine Cluster

In the context of the budget decision taken for 2011, the President of the Regional Council reaffirmed the wish to set up a Marine Cluster in Reunion, with the aim of reinforcing collaboration between the research organisations working on the local level and further encouraging applied research and transfer of technologies, notably with the economic sector.
The elected members decided to award a subsidy of €350,000 to launch the preliminary studies necessary for the construction of the Marine Cluster of Reunion Island.

Local Economy

  • Support to taxi companies : a total subsidy of €19,477.92 has been allocated to 19 taxi drivers, to enable them to equip their vehicles with taximeters and light signs.
  • Support for the “image” sector : the Regional Council supports the “audio-visual and image sector”, in order to enable the creation of local high added value, to generate and maintain technical and artistic jobs, with the perspective of exporting the products that best enhance the assets and characteristics of the territory. The regional councillors voted financial support to the amount of €28,684.65 for the production of a short film of 15 minutes.
  • Digital Development : the high-speed and very high-speed Internet network is a major challenge for Reunion Island and its inhabitants, its companies and its economic future. In the context of its strategy to set up very high-speed Internet, the Regional Council has launched a study to implement digital territorial continuity, with funding of €160,000. The long-term objective : setting up the conditions necessary to reduce the price difference between Reunion Island and mainland France. Furthermore, the elected members also decided to allocate €100,000 for a study on the technical and economic feasibility of installing of a “green data-centre” in Reunion Island. This low-energy computer data-centre will enable our island to become a regional centre of data, covering its own growth needs and those of the neighbouring countries (notably in eastern and southern Africa). This project perfectly corresponds to the digital development of the territory. In this sector, we can also mention the support of the Regional Council in favour of digital workshops. €58,075 were allocated to 10 cyber-centres, for organising events.

2012, Ecology Year

Energy/Sustainable Development

The elected members approved a subsidy of €250,000 to equip several test households with low-energy domestic appliances.

A subsidy of €1,847,000 was allocated to set up a research program on using local biomass to produce methane by the procedure called gasification-methanisation.
The main interest of gasification for Reunion Island would be to enable the island to lower its consumption of coal as a polluting fuel by turning biomass into storable gas.

In September 2011 a call for projects was launched to local government bodies and ECPI (Federation of town councils) for proposals of projects for electrical vehicles using photo-voltaic energy with the capacity to store the energy. Following this call for projects, the regional councillors voted in favour of a subsidy of €248,343 in order to finance projects in Bras-Panon, Saint-André, and Saint-Denis.

Education

Support for high schools

  • For the equipment of canteen services in high schools : a general subsidy of €273,400 was voted for six high schools in need of canteen equipment.
  • General subsidy for basic equipment in state high schools-2012. This subsidy aims at offering young Reunionese students the educational tools to provide them with professional skills, in order to enhance their professional integration, as well as providing high schools with better tools in terms of education, techniques and furniture.

The elected members approved a planned subsidy of €5,830,345 for the island’s 44 state high schools.