Eagle-eyed readers of the Marie de Morzine-Avoriaz’ regular magazine ‘Le Mag’, may have spotted a very recent update from local mayor Gerard Berger, in which he discusses the proposed new lift extension to connect Morzine, via Prodains, with Avoriaz. The entire project is called ‘Le Plan’, as it concerns the redevelopment of the site in Morzine centre named ‘le Plan’. This is the area that surrounds the Carrefour carpark and spreads down to the bottom of the Super Morzine lift.
Le Mag reads, “for over thirty years, successive municipal teams have looked for solutions to improve the critical situation of public transport, the saturation of traffic and parking, the links between Morzine and Avoriaz etc. Various councils made studies, often quite intricate and sometimes followed by requests for architectural proposals, without being able to achieve a global project that could solve all those problems. To help understand the Le Plan planning project undertaken by the town, the Mayor attempts to explain in this interview.”
Here’s what Monsieur Berger has to say!
“This global project revolves around two key points. First, there is the construction of a cable car to connect the centre of Morzine with the Prodains area, a facility that provides the first link for the transportation of skiers and pedestrians with the station of Avoriaz. The second link is the Prodains Express built in 2012. The other point of this project is the renovation and enhancement of the area with the construction of a zone that will include housing, services, car parks, landscaped gardens, pedestrian areas, roads etc.”
What is the Le Plan project?
“Actually, work on this question has been undertaken by various municipalities since the 80s. It was around then that the Plan area was blocked and at the time a regrouping of the land was required. I won’t detail all the stages, it would be too long, but already in the 90s there was a competition for architectural proposals (won by the Cottet-Puinel office) with a project that mainly involved the refurbishment of the embankment and which also aimed to renovate the whole Le Plan area. This blocked situation was then broached in the PADD (Plan d’Aménagement et de Développement Durables – City and Sustainable Development Plan), which the PLU (Plan Local d’Urbanisme – Local Urban Plan) is based on and which determines the general approach to town planning, a PLU which was approved in 2008. This PADD, written by the municipal officers who were in place from 2001 to 2008, provided for « a priority development of the Morzine, Avoriaz and Prodains areas that promote the development of businesses, services and artisans, whilst accounting for the management of urbanisation of the Plan and Prodains neighbourhoods, promoting cable car transportation between Morzine and Avoriaz and between the Prodains area and Avoriaz ». In this same PADD document three areas had been classified as 2AU, that is to say that urbanisation can only be envisaged in the case of a global renovation project, something we call a planning positioning document. Those three areas are Les Avinières, Les Prodains and Le Plan.”
Complicated stuff. But how far has the project actually developed?
“This global renovation project for Le Plan is on the right track. Several stages have been completed, others are still to come. As far as we are concerned, we are going to launch, probably in the next few months, the construction of 20 to 30 social housing properties on the embankment under the Rue du Bourg. This project will be run under the supervision of the town and will include some parking spaces, in particular for the new residents. For the rest of the communal land we will look for a partner who, in return for getting the land, will agree to convert the communal areas, in several stages and in compliance with specifications that we will provide, and which will comply with the project chosen for the global renovation, with more social housing because it’s very much needed now.”
And what about the new lift link?
“Of course, we made sure the project was technically feasible with regards to the pylons and the departure station. The exact location of the station has not yet been decided upon, but this cable car is definitely the central element that will influence the organisation of the Le Plan area. Legally speaking, I have promised to be completely transparent with the relevant government departments. We met the prefect in October and in agreement with him we will launch a new public service commission.”
So building work starts when?
“It is too early to answer that question, but it will probably take a few years … all the administrative formalities need to be completed, the local population will have its say, public enquiries, authorisations to fly over inhabited areas etc. In short, this is a major construction site, but I still believe it is essential to the future of Morzine”.
A public meeting is planned for April 2017, more on that to follow!