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Thursday, March 30, 2023

SAINT-JEAN-DU-GARD About 150 participants in the festive day around the collective project for La Borie

Built around a shared moment and information sessions on the project led by Terre de Liens and a civil real estate company (SCI), the festive day at the Mazel house enabled project leaders to attract new people. But the subscription is still far from the account.

A good hundred people were able, in the afternoon, to discuss the project • (photo Francois Desmeures)

The amount that the day will have allowed to drain was not known at the end of the afternoon. But the satisfaction of the organizers was, this Saturday, to have interested in the project new actors who had not yet been seen during the public meeting at the end of January (read here). At the Abraham Mazel house, facing the 27-hectare site of La Borie, the struggle that saw the abandonment of the dam project in 1992 still resonate this Saturday. Even if some of the people present had not been able to know the mobilization of the time.

Like this young man born in 1996, who “heard about it in the group of yellow vests in Quissac” and comes for information. At the reception stand, Michel Launay, for Terre de Liens, tirelessly re-explains the project shared between Terre de Liens and SCI la Borie. It also details the current situation of the sale, the availability of the property in three different agencies, the municipal will to sell in two lots, etc.

Upon the arrival of the participants, Michel Launay, for Terre de Liens, details his agricultural project • (photo Francois Desmeures)

While a slide show shows past mobilization and draws up some broad outlines of the project, the first questions arise in the Mazel house, on the possible pooling of sources, the possible right of way between future residents, the recovery of rainwater. One of the members of Terre de Liens recounts the stealthy visit to the premises, as a potential buyer, in the fall. A visit preceded and followed by two masons responsible for reopening and closing the concrete windows, to prevent passage, and under the gaze of two gendarmes.

André Migayron (right) was mayor of Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française – and in the struggle – when the dam project was abandoned • (photo Francois Desmeures)

Behind the stove, André Migayron is busy. When the dam project was canceled by the Council of State, he fought against it as mayor of Saiont-Étienne-Vallée-Française. “I am one of the Borie dinosaurs, he smiled, but there is an extinction of the race: all the presidents of defense associations are dead.” Now on the board of directors of the Abraham Mazel association, he also remembers that “La Borie is one of the engagements where you win friends. But you also lose some.”

“Privatization is not compatible with life in the Cévennes and the history of the fight against the dam”

André Migayron, former mayor of Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française

The fear of the former Lozère mayor is “privatization, which is not compatible with life in the Cévennes and the history of the fight against the dam”. But, far from the struggles that had involved “the countries of refuge” or “Rocard and I don’t know which ambassador” André Migayron regrets not being “only between locals”. “Will we have the financial capacity? It’s a race against the clock because Ruas has set imperatives and creating an SCI, it’s interesting but it’s not easy.”

Delphine Maillard and Patrick Pasanau detailed their adventures – sometimes violent – of more than 15 years of rental • (photo Francois Desmeures)

The afternoon discussion with the public then allowed one of the farmers, Frédéric Blanc, to detail his project on the site. Delphine Maillard and Patrick Pasanau, couple confirmed as tenants of the town hall by the courts, came to tell their impossibility, for two years, to live in their rented house, partly destroyed by squatters and municipal intervention, and above all matured by the owner himself, that is to say the municipality. They also gave the judgment, which they had been waiting for since January, on the €56,000 in rent claimed by the municipality: they ultimately only owe one year’s rent, or €4,800.

But it is the third place project that has raised the most questions. It is also the one over which hangs the greatest number of uncertainties, and which requires financial participation. This Saturday will have allowed the SCI to garner a hundredth participant. The subscription has now reached €27,000, far from the €100,000 or €150,000 expected to trigger a loan from the Nave, necessary to reach €350,000. “Ironwork, small sawmill, relearning recovery gestures, setting up a clède…” There is no shortage of ideas but their profitability is questioned, the work to be carried out in the buildings too, as are the terms of loan repayment. “The shares you buy will be passed on to your children or spouses”. History of registering the Borie in a family and collective heritage, in addition to the historical heritage of the Cévennes. But, for the moment, the future of the place remains very uncertain.

A vestige of the fight won 31 years ago • (photo Francois Desmeures)

Francois Desmeures

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