For the president of Beaucaire Terre d'Argence, Juan Martinez, “there is political politics. We do local politics”

For the president of Beaucaire Terre d'Argence, Juan Martinez, "there is political politics. We do local politics"

“I also fight an ambient defeatism: we live in a beautiful, dynamic territory,” defends Juan Martinez. Midi Libre – MiKAEL ANISSET

Meeting with Juan Martinez, president of the Beaucaire Terre d’Argence community of communes, on the eve of the 2024 budget vote.

You will present the 2024 budget this Monday, April 8. What impact will it have on the lives of your fellow citizens??

For 2024, we have a budget of 16 million euros, including debt repayment, in investments and 27 million euros; in operation, i.e. 43 M€ for 2024. What our fellow citizens can see is that this territory continues to develop economically. With the installation of new companies: we have compromises on four hectares, extension projects linked to new PLUs. For example in Jonquières-Saint-Vincent, where we have an activity zone of 3 hectares which will emerge, or in Bellegarde, where around fifteen hectares will emerge after validation of the PLU.

What guides your choices in setting up businesses, in terms of economic strategy?

Unfortunately, we have many more requests than available land. But we welcome all types of businesses, of all sizes, to face a reality: our territory has an unemployment rate of more than 13%, so our primary desire is to create employment. ;rsquo;employment. Whether by a small SME or VSE, or a company which will create 40 or 50 jobs.

The community of municipalities does not only act on the economy.

No, we also have a vision on health and the fight against medical deserts. We have two medical centers and we are partners of the Region's system, "My health, my Region" . We are waiting to have doctors proposed in Beaucaire and we have signed contracts with four medical students. One will arrive this year in Beaucaire and another next year. We also work, of course, on equipment projects according to the choices of the municipalities, housing, with more than 8 M€ focused on city centers. We are also equipping ourselves with photovoltaics on our buildings, with 300,000 euros; investments this year. We also worked on heritage, as with the Aillaud island, in the city center of Beaucaire, a degraded but classified building that we will secure, with 800,000 ;€ of work. We will also provide accessibility for disabled people at the castle. Without forgetting our bicycle policy supported by three greenways.

What are the strengths/weaknesses of your territory today ?

We are an industrial territory, but also an agricultural territory. With people who are not very mobile. So we need to combine this heritage and agricultural wealth with industrial facilities. The very high voltage line file is characteristic of this. It is in our territory of Jonquières-Saint-Vincent where there is the electrical node, the "plug" from the south-east of France. There are 19 very high voltage lines which leave from there towards Paca and Hérault. The pompom is this project to put another one to bring energy to Fos for reindustrialization and decarbonization. We can welcome this, except that we are still the territory that will suffer the nuisance without the benefits… hellip; But of course we also have real agricultural wealth, with IGP, AOP, or even Clairette de Bellegarde, one of the oldest in France, 1949! And a paradox: with 13% unemployment, we have great labor needs. But ultimately, our territory has the strength to be both the eastern gateway to Occitanie and the western gateway to Paca, which is an opportunity. We must therefore both attract tourists and allow young people who grew up here to settle there and live there in good conditions.

The project for a river port in Fourques is moving forward

"We have a territory that is crossedé by the Rhône, the Petit Rhône and the Canal du Rhône à Sète." The project for a port in the city center of Fourques, with 320 rings, was therefore born. "We are in preliminary consultation for this project with a public inquiry which should start in September, specifies Juan Martinez. It’is 11.7 M€ investment, almost at the foot of Arles and a port which will give a very positive image for tourism, economic development and ;image of the territory." Concerning the outlines of the project: "We already have a plan. purchased a large part of agricultural compensation. We also worked on with the Symadrem union, which is responsible in particular for the repair of the dikes on the Grand Rhône and Petit Rhône so that, when the port is dug, the earth be used to strengthen the dikes of the Petit Rhône, which will secure, I hope, a little bit my territory, that of the Beaucaire plain and the municipalities of Bellegarde, Fourques and Saint-Gilles."

However, like Gard, don't you think that the tourist dimension could be greater than currently ?

Yes, of course. It has been 6-7 years since we significantly increased the resources put into tourism. And when we do 40 linear km of greenways, it’s because we want to work on the attractiveness of our territory, just like with the port project. We also have, but it is a long process, a restructuring project on the Saint-Roman Abbey, in Beaucaire, which is underway. We try to promote our heritage, remembering that the attractiveness of a territory begins in the heads of those who live there.

How do you experience the marked political opposition between you and Mayor Beaucaire, central city, Julien Sanchez ?

We have a majority and we are moving forward. And I think we are doing a lot of good for the town of Beaucaire. Then there is political politics. We do local politics, investment, and the development of services for our territories and our people. I respect elected officials, but I do not respect the ideas of the National Rally due to my experience and that of my family. And I will continue to fight against these ideas. But I also fight an ambient defeatism: we live in a beautiful, dynamic territory. Nothing is decided or inevitable. I'm not saying we're perfect, but we try to do the best we can, that's my daily struggle. Promote this territory, beyond all the clichés.

Beaucaire Terre d’Argence Community Council this Monday, April 8, at 7 p.m., at the CCBTA headquarters, 1 avenue de la Croix-Blanche in Beaucaire.

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