Parking: Max Roustan, mayor of Alès, ensures that “free parking is not called into question”

Parking: Max Roustan, mayor of Alès, ensures that “free parking is not called into question”

La mairie s’est engagée à maintenir une période de gratuité sous une forme ou une autre. MIDI LIBRE – ALEXIS BETHUNE

L’idée du ticket commerçant pour fidéliser les clients du centre-ville est envisagée.

Monday March 18, in the evening, at the invitation of the Alès town hall, around twenty merchants from the city center met the mayor, Max Roustan, and a large municipal delegation including the first deputy, Christophe Rivenq. "We have a deficit of 700 000 € to the budget of the parking authority. We need to find solutions", explains Max Roustan straight away, in the preamble. Cleverly, the mayor defuses a possible crisis with the merchants: "We have never called into question the principle of the period of free parking on the surface and in the parkings. The ball is in the traders' court for proposals."

A proposal is taking shape…

Laurent Jacques, owners of seven stores in town, with 16 employees, leaves the meeting after thirty minutes. When questioned, the merchant released a sober  "no comments", before conceding: "I’I always believed in the heart of the city , I invested everything here. But there…" Frédéric Brunel, for the Alès commerce en ville association (Acev), notes that "Max Roustan has recognized that parking in the city is insufficient, that there are not enough places. What we are asking is that our customers can continue to benefit from free service. The town hall guaranteed us that the measure would be retained. This is already positive." A proposal is emerging: "We are considering setting up the merchant ticket. " It would be a matter of professionals taking charge of all or part of the parking for their clients.

"The period is complicated"

"Maybe we should also communicate more. We don't know anything about the work, when it will start, it's not possible", estimates Alexandre Zabala, owner of the creperie Place Barbusse. His brother, the president of the Tour des Halles merchants, wants to keep hope: "Yes, we are suffering, but we have free shuttles, the city is changing face. We move to find solutions: we deliver to customers, we tinker with minute stops while we load the purchases." &quot ;The period is complicated", confirms Antoine Brasseur for the Union of Traders, Industrialists and Artisans (UCIA). &quot ;But we have advantages in Alès, parking prices are lower than elsewhere." Surprise guest of the meeting, the wine merchant Matthieu Pibarot&nbsp ;: "We were treated to great speeches from Roustan and Rivenq. Even if they assured that everything was open, under the guise of consultation, we can clearly see that they had everything prepared and lined up."

When will there be a steering committee ?

A steering committee could be created to which traders would be invited. No date has been given for the continuation of the debates.

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