Wednesday, 18 January 2017

New Year Ceremony

Every year in France each mayor holds a New Year ceremony. Its purpose is to go over what the commune has achieved during the previous year, and to announce the plan for the coming year. This year in Preuilly the focus was on the amalgamation of the communes of our département of Indre et Loire into three big communautés des communes. The one we are in is called Loches Sud Touraine and is the 8th biggest communauté des communes in the country.

A commune is a local authority, based around a city, urban district, town or village and its satellite hamlets. As you can imagine they vary enormously both in geographical area and population. Ours is a small bow-tie shaped area with Preuilly-sur-Claise as the central knot. Until recently Preuilly was joined with the neighbouring communes to form the communauté des communes of the Touraine du Sud and Preuilly was the seat of this communauté des communes.

Left to right: Jean-Marie Beffara, Marisol Touraine, Gilles Bertucelli, Gérard Hénault.

Now the Touraine du Sud has joined the communautés des communes of Loches Développement, the Grand Ligueillois and Montrésor to form the super communauté of Loches Sud Touraine. Under the new arrangement Preuilly is no longer the centre of the communauté des communes, but it is hoped that the purchasing power of the new communauté will mean significant savings on equipment and office supplies.

Our mayor and the old communauté elected representatives were obviously worried that the good citizens of Preuilly would feel that they would get forgotten in the new bigger organisation. Consequently the big guns were deployed to reassure everyone. Marisol Touraine, Minister for Health and Social Affairs gave a speech, the Deputy Jean-Marie Beffara from the Conseil Général was in attendance, Gérard Hénault the president of the communauté des communes Loches Sud Touraine gave a speech and the mayor of Preuilly, Gilles Bertucelli too.

The villagers gather round for sparkling Vouvray, macaroons (in lieu of galettes des rois) and couronnes des rois. Simon got a fêve (he thought he'd lost a filling!)

So far the only evidence of any change I've noticed is that Yohann Sionneau, the river technician, who is employed by the communauté des communes, has moved office from Preuilly to Ligueil.

The mayor himself concentrated more on his 'legacy project',  known as 'Heart of the Village'. The centre of town has been relandscaped and a new medical centre is being created in the old post office sorting office. At the moment Preuilly has a doctor (Patrick Mureau), and two dentists (Monsieur et Madame Renaudie). Madame Renaudie has retired and her replacement is currently working with her husband. Monsieur Renaudie is also due to retire soon and when he does the new dentist he's been working with will move into the new medical centre. Also to move into the new medical centre is a female GP, who I am told speaks English.

The mayor also mentioned that a decision about when work was to start on the Chapelle de tous les saints might be made by the end of January. At the moment they are waiting on tenders to be submitted for the work by tradesmen. I'm told the quotes are likely to come in under budget too. (Donations to the chapel restoration fund can be made here.)

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