Ariège. Le nouveau préfet Simon Bertoux décline ses priorités : « L’Ariège n’est pas un décor, c’est un territoire qui mérite d’avoir des perspectives »

l’essentiel Économie, sécurité, pastoralisme, proximité et écologie : trois semaines après sa prise de fonction, le nouveau préfet de l’Ariège, Simon Bertoux, a décliné ses priorités lors d’une conférence de presse, le mardi 12 septembre à Foix.

After three weeks during which, as usual, he met many actors of the territory, the new prefect of Ariège, Simon Bertoux, gave an update on his priorities during a press conference organized on Tuesday, September 12th at the prefecture.

First among them is the economy, particularly the topics of employment and industrial revitalization. « We have a government that believes that full employment is achievable and that it is the best response to the problem of purchasing power, » he points out. However, with an unemployment rate of 9.2%, Ariège is among the 10 most suffering departments. « This means that we need to amplify efforts, » says Simon Bertoux, especially in favor of youth employment, one in three of whom is unemployed, with the goal of better coordinating the actions of various stakeholders, from Pôle emploi to vocational high schools.

The industry, on the other hand, has a better dynamic. As noted by the prefect, Ariège, although it has suffered significant losses, has still maintained a significant industrial base, particularly in the aerospace sector, with real prospects for increased activity. The goal is to review all the business accommodation capabilities in order to ultimately offer turnkey solutions to project holders.

Salvayre: the deviation will occur.

And this, despite the « objections » that many projects face in Ariège. Thus, the subject of the Salvayre deviation came up, « a very simple project » on which Simon Bertoux expresses surprise at the unfavorable opinion of the investigating commissioner. « These arguments are not sustainable, » he asserts regarding the gracious appeal that should receive a response from the prefecture by September 19. A clear response will be given: « We will explicitly state that we will continue with this project, » and everything will be done to ensure that the work is completed as quickly as possible.

Determined to confront the « opposing forces » that are often expressed in Ariège, Simon Bertoux does not mince his words: « There are people who settle in Ariège thinking it’s a garden, which is unacceptable. Ariège is not a backdrop, it is an inhabited territory that deserves to have prospects. »

Security: Pamiers, the black spot

Another priority, and not the least, is security. According to the new representative of the State, there is a black spot in a department that does not suffer from serious problems: the security in the city center of Pamiers, with its issues of public space occupation, small drug trafficking, disturbances outside nightclubs, frauds in some businesses, and a general feeling of insecurity. Therefore, instructions have been given to increase police presence in the city center, but especially to multiply foot patrols at certain times. And to set an example, Simon Bertoux went to Pamiers to follow one of these patrols on the same day in the evening.

Sécurité encore avec la volonté affichée d’intensifier les contrôles sur la contrebande de tabac et d’alcool sur la RN 20, conjointement avec le parquet de Foix afin de garantir une réponse pénale rapide. « Ces opérations donnent des résultats intéressants, on va mettre cette pression plus régulièrement », assure donc le préfet.

Ours : accélérer sur les mesures de protection

Impossible, bien sûr, d’ignorer le sujet du pastoralisme et de la prédation de l’ours. « Je serai, comme ma prédécesseure, en lien très fort avec les acteurs pastoraux », annonce Simon Bertoux, qui doit se rendre ce mercredi 13 septembre sur l’estive du Mont Rouch pour y rencontrer éleveurs et bergers.

« I cannot reword »

Similarly, following a fundamental decision by the Council of State made this summer regarding scaring away animals, Simon Bertoux already announces his intention to issue new orders next year. « However, scaring away cannot be a general measure that is taken throughout the entire summer, in all grazing areas, » he warns.

Tout comme il prévient, quitte à décevoir : « Faire un comptage des ours sur le Couserans est impossible. Mais on peut réfléchir à une estimation, et c’est ce à quoi travaille l’Office français de la biodiversité. »

Finally, it should be noted that the new state representative is determined to prioritize proximity and ecological transition. This includes addressing the issue of Lake Montbel, which is crucial for drought support, and where the departmental council’s actions are expected to be reinforced.

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