Nîmes Olympique, Costières stadium, security, municipal 2026… the answers from Julien Plantier, first deputy mayor of Nîmes

Nîmes Olympique, Costières stadium, security, municipal 2026... the answers from Julien Plantier, first deputy mayor of Nîmes

“I will do everything possible to ensure that the work that was done by Jean-Paul Fournier is preserved.” Midi Libre – MiKAEL ANISSET

Interview with Julien Plantier, first deputy of Jean-Paul Fournier, delegate for Urban Planning.

Let's start with the thorny question of the Costières stadium. Where are you with regard to the study on its renovation ?

We had a first meeting two weeks ago with the mayor and we asked the design office to rework certain points. We are in a somewhat unprecedented situation compared to, unfortunately, the situation of the club. The City, as a local authority, therefore leaves itself the possibility, just in case, of reopening the Costières stadium if the current leaders were to make a decision which would lead the first team to no longer play at the Antonins. So we have to budget the cost of renovating the stadium with several assumptions.

The preferred option was, in addition to the renovation of the pitch, the changing rooms or the lighting, the destruction of the west stand for a sum estimated at 8 million euros, but only the National level could be considered. Isn’t this a lack of ambition?

No! Upgrading to national standards is part of the work. Which will call, if necessary, for other complementary work if, by chance, we return to a level like Ligue 1, Ligue 2. This is not a definitive choice, it is something progressive.

So these different work phases are already encrypted.

Yes, we have different scenarios depending on the sporting practice. Today, when we show, unfortunately, realism in view of sporting practice, we will first project ourselves in relation to national practice. And we look at the situation with reason and humility because this is substantial work, which we had not necessarily planned as part of the Multi-Annual Investment Plan (PPI).

If we know that dialogue with Rani Assaf and the municipality is non-existent, what is also said is that the president of the club no longer wishes to deal with you personally. What is your position ?

I think we need to go beyond the question of people and think in terms of institution and identity. Today, it is unacceptable for a president of a professional football club to talk about breaking off all discussions with the City of Nîmes, which has always been there for the club since its inception. creation. That he no longer wishes to communicate with me as a person, I hear him. But however, from what I know, he also has no relationship with the executive who has been the mayor of Nîmes for almost a year. There is a question of governance responsibility.

Discussions would not be broken off between Rani Assaf and the president of Nîmes Métropole Franck Proust…

So much the better. But I position myself as first deputy of the City of Nîmes and it is not normal for the dialogue to be broken off. I hear voices rising, criticizing the municipal management of this issue. When we see things at the moment when the decision was made, at the moment when the collaboration was made… today, the situation is diametrically opposite and we are the first to suffer.

But you know however that this issue risks being a burden for the end of Jean-Paul Fournier's mandate, or even a challenge for the next municipal elections ?

Of course. When you have responsibilities, you have to assume them. We are the first to be saddened by this situation, but we do not want to shy away. When we say that we are working on a potential rehabilitation of the Costières stadium, it is, on the contrary, to prepare for other situations and a future for Olympic Nîmes.

If possible in National…

Obviously, because the descent makes us lose professional status and we can clearly see that with this game of accessions and relegations, there is a real wish on the part of the Professional Football League of ;ensure stability for clubs present in these first divisions. With six descents this year, it is clear that there is a desire to keep only the top of the hat. But above all we are supporters of this club and we wish it success.

Unfortunately, Nîmes' problems are not limited to its football club. There is a growing tendency to describe the city as “little Marseille” because of his drug trafficking. Even if security is a sovereign skill, what is your view ?

We see, unfortunately, that the problem affecting Nîmes is not an isolated case. However, I disagree with those who consider that the City is absent, those who consider that the mayor of Nîmes is leaving drug trafficking clear. The City has always been keen to place its neighborhoods at the heart of its actions since 2001. There has been a certain number of renovation works with Anru 1. The NPNRU (New National Urban Renewal Program , Editor's note) version 2 will begin operationally this year.

A lot of work has also been done in terms of educational policy in these neighborhoods. It is from an early age that the republican fact must be embodied. And I consider that the answer cannot only be security or urban. It is absolutely necessary to have a systemic and global approach from the point of view of education, prevention, social issues, sports culture, employment or security. But there is an impetus that must be given by the State. What we are waiting for today is a sort of Marshall plan (massive foreign aid program to support a territory defeated by a crisis) for the cities crossed by these difficulties, including Nîmes in the heart of the Mediterranean arc. We have an armed municipal police force, more than 600 video surveillance cameras, we cannot say that the City is doing nothing.

In less than two years, the municipal elections will take place. Are you officially a candidate ?

I have been involved in politics for around fifteen years, since 2008 alongside Jean-Paul Fournier, and today I am his first deputy. For me, there are two important objectives: the notion of bringing together the entire municipal team in relation to the mission entrusted to us in 2020. And I do not want the work and the involvement of Jean-Paul Fournier since 2001. It is unanimous to say that the city of Nîmes has been revolutionized thanks to all the work of the community. Tomorrow, as part of a vote, there will be an electoral game. And at that time, I will do everything possible to preserve the collective work that has been done.
But there will have to be a name that emerges, in addition to a team.
I am a committed man, a committed elected official. I obviously have a vision. To tell you that we don't think about the medium-long term would be to lie to you. But, at the same time, we must first focus on what we have to do now.


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