On Wednesday, Mayor François Commeinhes and his deputies unveiled the major projects for the upcoming season in Sète.
Under a scorching sun and with little to no shade, François Commeinhes presented on Wednesday, in the open-air theater of the School of Fine Arts, the upcoming projects of his city. In an hour and a half, facing a press slowly roasted, he aimed to portray himself as a mayor who is fully committed. Both literally and figuratively. There are numerous topics to discuss.
Economie, emploi… l’optimisme affiché
Sète cannot rejoice in having a 10% unemployment rate in its employment area, but the efforts are paying off, says François Commeinhes, who relies on the figures from the regional directorate for the economy, employment, labor, and solidarity (Dreets) to showcase his optimism. « Sète has experienced a 0.7 point decrease in unemployment over the past year. This represents the largest decrease in Occitanie. »
Several factors explain this figure. The expansion area of the Eaux Blanches (2020) has seen about fifteen companies settle, creating around a hundred jobs. « Eighteen companies are currently being established, with a potential of 256 jobs to come. » The number of jobs has generally increased by +8.2% between 2010 and 2020. The growth in the number of companies (+16%) is also worth noting since 2021.
The municipal councilor Jean-Guy Majourel highlighted « the residential journey of the company », the « incubation work », and the creation of the Flex business nursery to explain the economic dynamism of Sète. « We have a project to create a business hotel by 2025 to promote welcoming and job sustainability, » continues the elected official, who also mentions the creation of the Attractiveness Agency to facilitate the welcoming of businesses and Sète’s participation in the creation of an Industrial Territory with neighboring economic basins. The latest figure: 98 companies are currently in discussions to present projects in the area. « These represent 1,193 potential jobs. » Thirty-three projects are already in the « advanced » phase.
Over the course of the files
Aristide-Briand sur les rails
« The mayor commented that the construction of the parking lot on Aristide Briand square is progressing at a good pace, despite a delay of one and a half years. This delay has resulted in a minimum additional cost of 1.5 million euros for the project. According to François Commeinhes, the diaphragm walls of the future parking lot will be completed by the end of September. Excavation and flooring can then be carried out, allowing for the completion of the parking lot by the end of 2024 and the restoration of the square to its original appearance. The overall delivery is expected to take place by the fall of 2025. »
Un manager de commerce recruté
The City, which aims to reduce the vacancy rate of businesses measured at 4.2% compared to the national average of 10 to 12% for cities of the same size, has commissioned a study by a consulting firm during the year 2022. As a result, a merchandising plan has been developed for the downtown area, which aims to guide the business establishment strategy for the next 10 years. The objective is to support existing businesses and promote the establishment of new brands. A downtown manager will implement this plan in order to enhance the attractiveness of the city center.
When will we have the QRR for security?
According to the mayor, the extension of the classified area in the Priority City Quarter (QPV) is progressing. He specifically mentioned his efforts to integrate Victor-Hugo College into the Priority Education Network (REP) in order to obtain more resources for reducing inequalities. However, when asked about the designation as a Priority Reclamation Quarter (QRR) aimed at providing additional police reinforcements for security, the mayor stated that there has been no progress since it was unanimously approved by the council a year ago.
Health: a communal mutual insurance project
Deputy delegate for social affairs and health, Jocelyne Gizarlin, highlighted the action taken since 2022 in favor of creating a local health contract. A survey revealed that over 7,000 residents of Sète do not have health insurance. « The municipality has issued a call for expressions of interest to insurance companies, » the elected official stated. « We will receive a specific response by December. The objective is to identify and promote several insurance companies. Each individual will be free to make their own choice. This is called a communal insurance, as the entire community is involved. »
The municipalities implementing this measure do so primarily to facilitate access to supplementary health insurance. The city aims to address a « public health » issue through « local solidarity ». The entire population will be affected. « It can be estimated that savings could reach around 20% for each individual. The goal is to launch this mutual insurance scheme in early 2024. »
The full refund scheme for annual subscriptions to the urban transport network will be applicable from January 1, 2024, to individuals aged 65-69 who are not subject to income tax and to young people aged 11-18 whose parents are not subject to income tax. Approximately 500 users are eligible to benefit from this scheme. Next year, the scheme will be extended to include individuals aged 16-64 who are not subject to income tax.
Le nouvel espace de santé de l’île de Thau est prévu début 2024. Il intégrera deux médecins généralistes (peut-être trois), deux infirmières et une sage-femme. Les médecins se voient proposer la gratuité des loyers et des charges pendant un an.
Starting from January 2024, a bike-sharing service will be implemented in twelve municipalities of the Agglo. A fleet of 330 bikes is planned, with 175 units for Sète. Electric-assist bikes will be available for rent through a smartphone application. 571 locations have been identified throughout the Agglo area.
The construction of the new municipal police and urban surveillance center has begun on Gilbert-Martelli Avenue. The building has a total area of 1,000 m², with a second floor dedicated to the urban supervision center (CSU), which currently allows for the monitoring of 108 cameras. The delivery is scheduled for June 2024.
The urban developments are progressing.
In continuation of the completion of the parking lot and Victor-Hugo square, the studies for the development of the avenue are finalized. The objective is to enhance this city artery while respecting its historical framework. Consultation with residents is currently underway. « Decisions will be made after this consultation, » the mayor stated. Construction will begin in January 2024, with completion expected by the start of the 2025 school year. Estimated cost of the project: €2.75 million.
Furthermore, the opening of the Pont des Arts is eagerly awaited. This bridge, adorned with two stainless steel sails, an artwork by Jean Denant, is intended to connect Avenue Gilbert-Martelli to Quai des Moulins. The construction began in March 2022 with an initial duration of ten months, but it has ultimately been delayed. The structure itself has been completed since June, but the stainless steel artwork has also experienced delays. Delivery is now scheduled for the last quarter of 2023.
Finally, regarding the accessibility of Sète train station, the city will soon inaugurate a new footbridge that will span the railway tracks to connect the two north and south squares of the Multimodal Exchange Hub (PEM). Sète Agglopôle Méditerranée is the main funder of this project, contributing nearly €3.3 million out of the total €8 million for the construction work. The 71-meter-long footbridge will be installed on November 4th and 5th. The plans also include the creation of a 170-space parking lot, a 40-space bicycle shelter, and charging stations for electric vehicles.