Emmanuelle Gazel, the mayor of Millau, stated: « We will temporarily halt the pedestrianization process. »

The socialist mayor of Millau, during this back-to-school season, provides updates on various important issues (pedestrianization, finances, future central hospital…). And doesn’t forget about the 20th anniversary of the viaduct in 2024.

Will the very proactive pedestrianization plan for the city center continue?

Nous allons faire une pause. Nous sommes sur un scénario durable et nous n’irons pas plus loin d’ici la fin du mandat. Il est bien que la ville reprenne ses marques avec ses deux places piétonnes : Foch et La Capelle. En découle une circulation marchande, commerçante dans la ville quasiment entièrement piétonne.

Does this stop have any connection to the dissatisfaction of certain merchants?

We are in the market once a month, in clubs, associations. In short, in the city, we heard a lot of Millavois saying that they felt an urban disconnect with La Capelle square in particular. But others are very happy and tell us not to change anything… it’s difficult to please everyone. Especially when it comes to changing habits.

We have therefore decided to organize a citizen consultation on the principle of reopening a part of La Capelle square, from Gambetta to Capelle or from Capelle to Gambetta. The direction is not yet defined. It could be a complete opening, on one lane, all year round or according to a seasonal schedule. Alternatively, we could keep it pedestrian-only in the evenings and on weekends throughout the year.

Will these different scenarios be proposed for citizen consultation?

Ce sera une votation qui se fera via des bulletins dans le prochain magazine municipal qui sera distribué entre le 4 et le 10 octobre. Chaque Millavois aura donc son bulletin et la possibilité de voter en format électronique. Tout cela sur une période assez courte d’une dizaine de jours.

Avez-vous prévu une réunion publique concernant ce sujet et d’autres ?

Yes. This direct democracy has been somewhat our trademark since the beginning of the term. We have listed all the commitments of our municipal project and every year we indicate what has been achieved (orange), what is in progress (green), or what remains unresolved (red). Perhaps some issues will remain unresolved until the end of the term in 2026. We will then explain why. This meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 20th at 6:30 PM at the Créa.

Are the difficult to achieve red points related to finances?

Yes, particularly with our commitment not to increase the property tax rate during our term.

What about a potential second term?

Emmanuelle Gazel avoids answering when questioned about her thoughts, even in the morning in her bathroom, on the possibility of a second term as mayor in 2026. « I mainly focus on the twenty-year anniversary of the viaduct… Objectively, I am fully committed to my current term. It goes by quickly. The first year was during the Covid pandemic, which made things complicated. It takes time to implement the policies we advocate for, such as the schoolyard greening project. » The mayor asserts her ambition to successfully complete her first term. And what comes after? « We shall see. »

The extensive work carried out since 2020 on the aquatic complex is also putting a strain on the budget…

C’est un choix antérieur à notre mandat, trois mois avec les élections municipales de 2020. L’intérêt de rénover l’équipement était évident comme d’avoir des installations d’escalade mais tournées vers nos habitants car les JO durent quelques mois et les compétitions internationales ne font pas vivre une ville. Le chantier a pris beaucoup de retard et ne se passe pas bien.

Quand est-ce que le coup sera terminé ?

Il y a quelques mois, nous étions au début de 2024, mais à mesure que le temps passe, cela devient de plus en plus compliqué.

Comment gérez-vous le fait que six élus de votre majorité aient pris leurs distances politiquement il y a six mois ?

I don’t feel like qualifying this episode. What matters to me, and a large part of the team, is to achieve what we were elected for. By staying attentive to the residents.

Au service des habitants, justement, il y a le nouvel hôpital à l’horizon 2028…

The agreement reached in February 2022 was unprecedented between Millau and Saint-Affrique. The Prime Minister approved a healthcare project for Southern Aveyron. The medical aspect has been endorsed by all healthcare stakeholders in Saint-Affrique and Millau. This is based on projections of an aging population. For instance, there will be an increase in the number of beds for oncology and gerontology.

Will there be enough healthcare personnel?

The positions will be available. The issue of recruitment will remain. However, it is easier to recruit when you are working on an innovative and unifying project in new premises.

Will the viaduct be celebrated in 2024, in addition to the Olympic flame passing through in May?

I had lunch last Wednesday with Eiffage to discuss it. It will be after the torch relay, but for now, I am not allowed to reveal the date… (smile). The idea is to organize a great event for the viaduct, which has become the symbol of Millau. In France and internationally, it is a positive element of recognition.