Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good news for Les Arcs - new projects approved

Despite the doom and gloom emanating from Bourg St Maurice and Mde Le Maire in the last few weeks, I was surprised and delighted that on Monday the conseil municipal passed a provisional budget for 2013 which includes several goodies for Les Arcs.

There has been much wrangling recently as to whether the town should be trying to pay down its €40 million debt, with the possible effects of improving their credit rating for future projects, or if investment now in more modest projects is the way forward.  Well, thankfully anti-austerity common-sense has ruled the day, and €8.5 millions euros are on the table. This is how it's going to be spent:

Arc 2000 - to be transformed
1) Improvements to Arc 2000. A new building is going to be constructed near where the buses stop (presently a horrible shabby and unwelcoming first impression for new arrivals)  with a new tourist office, baggage store (hopefully to encourage late Saturday departures to get and extra day's lift pass...), a waiting room with nice toilets. The old 1970's 'Dynotron' lift will be replaced and enlarged. This is all going to cost €1.4 million. It extremely pleasing to this happening at Arc 2000, which ought to be the 'jewel in the crown' of Les Arcs rather than a negelcted backwater.

Tatty funi footbridge
2) Renovation of the Funicular footbridge at Bourg St Maurice. About time too - I'm sure a lot of people must step off the train and seeing that scruffy monstrosity feel like getting straight back on and back to Paris or wherever! Anyhow, it's all going to be re-done, new floor, walls and 2 new lifts up from the Funi terminus.There will new digital information displays and new lighting throughout. There is also talk of a possible extension of the paserelle up to the old 7 BCA barracks site - great idea, but it would mean more then doubling its length and passing though various private gardens and Lidl! Perhaps it would  be best to wait and see if anything ever comes of the redevelopment plans for Quartier Bulle.... Budget: €1.9 million

I do hope they manage to restore the striking triangular neon sculpture thing (hasn't worked for years) above the main staircase.

The existing swimming pool will be the
basis of the Centre Aqualudique
3) €850,000 has been voted for initial studies and planning for the proposed Centre Aqualudique at Arc 1800. This project would include swimming pools, spas, water splashes etc (anyone else seen the fantastic one at Morzine?) which would truly be a great asset to Les Arcs summer offering. The whole thing is budgeted at about €6 m, which they hope to raise by selling the old Renoveau Holiday camp (how many times over has that money been spent I wonder?). So no real certainties there for the moment, but at least a start has been made.

There is also going to be a major refurbishment of the town's Nursery (Le Pomme d'Api) and the creation of a permanent travellers' site (this should benefit winter seasonaires). There is also money for the cemetery, sewage, car parks, buses and water mains.

It also transpires from the municipal budget that €2.8 million is going to towards lift investments - I assume that will cover the Chantel replacement and the new rope-tow on the 'snow front' at Arc 1800/Villards (to compensate for another of the "5 great planning errors of Les Arcs" - blog coming soon!)

Daniel Payot - against the budget
So where is this money going to come from? It appears the sale of the Old Gendarmerie, which bought in €2 million, and some building plots at Courbaton for another million are the main sources. Other than that it's coming out of the towns revenue and from savings and cost-cutting.  The conseil municipal opposition, led by Daniel Payot, argued against the budget saying that it was dangerous to sell the town's assets now as in a few years time the town could find itself with more debts and running costs and nothing left to sell.

There is no mention in the budget of the CNSHN (Centre for High Level Ski Studies) which appears once again to be quagmired by political and financial indecison.  From the extravagant plan to redevelop (and even extend) the Quartier Bulle at a cost of about € 6 million the scheme has been reduced to a proposal to house the 90 potential students in the exisiting 'Cité Scolaire' and for them to use existing facilities left behind by the army (gym, canteen etc). And this was to be the grandiose project that was going to change Bourg's fortunes for evermore....

Anyhow, let's be thankful for the conseils municipal's sensible approach to this handful of schemes that will make quite a difference to the town and the resort.

No comments:

Post a Comment