The Baie de Somme-Grand Littoral Picard Joint Union protects the coast

The Baie de Somme-Grand Littoral Picard Joint Union protects the coast

Picardie La Gazette: Can you tell us something about your mixed union?

Florian Bouthors : The Baie de Somme-Grand Littoral Picard Joint Union is a public body founded in 1974 at the initiative of the department of the Somme. It brings together 18 coastal municipalities and, more recently, three coastal EPCIs (Community of the Gulf of Somme, Community of Municipalities of Ponty Marchenter and Community of Twin Cities).

Historically, his areas of expertise are land use planning and natural environment management. There is a third component that deals with the management of tourist facilities such as Cap Horn in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, the Marquenterre bird park in Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont or the Aquaclub and golf course at Belle Dune in Fort. Mahon… With 200 employees, it is one of the largest tourist employers on the Picardy coast. Its last jurisdiction falls within the framework of water environment management and flood prevention (Gemapi), a jurisdiction created by the state in 2018.

We implement a flood prevention policy. This is an important topic in the territory. We manage embankments, coastal works. We must prepare the territories for the worsening of the climate hazards that will occur, for a certain adaptation, especially cities like Mers-les-Bains, Le Crotoy or Cayeux-sur-mer. Thirty million euros have been allocated under the Action Program for Flood Prevention (Papi) to prepare for rising sea levels.

Zac will see the light of day on the northern edge of Quend-Plage.

Are levees that much of a problem?

The current embankments were built by our ancestors more than 100 years ago. Even today they effectively protect the territory, even if some are getting old. However, climate change obliges us to anticipate the intensification of future dangers, the consequences of which we are already beginning to see.

After extensive technical studies and modeling of events, consultations with the population and local stakeholders allowed several scenarios to be decided regarding the embankment of the territory. We are preparing administrative authorization files to foresee the first works of this huge program at the end of 2024. This will be the case, for example, of the Gaieté embankment, which runs from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme to Le Hourdel, and which should be improved.

The County Council plans to depolder the Caroline Farm area to release the sea and create a fishing effect to maintain the harbor where there are still fishing boats. In this context, the removed sediments will be used to strengthen the embankment.

Another example of a solution: in Cayeux-sur-Mer, the reconstruction of the maritime boulevard will take place while integrating the problem of sea subsidence. It will be a question of adapting the installations so that these zones are able to absorb, direct and evacuate the sea overflows, in order to protect the houses. At the same time, throughout the territory, engineering resources and subsidies have been established for private owners to adapt their homes and reduce their vulnerability.

In Le Crotoy, the project concerns the area between Place Jeanne-d’Arc and the port. The city could be flooded in the event of a significant rise in the sea. A protective wall integrated into the public space should be built around 2024-205. Work is also underway on the complete rehabilitation of the Jules-Noiret embankment, whose work will be planned for the long term.

In Mers-les-Bains and Le Tréport, several scenarios are still debated to this day. A low wall could also be built, but it will be necessary to accept that water can enter the city. The place called “la prairie”, which today is a very large area in the heart of the city, will be the subject of high-quality decoration. Water could be channeled there in the event of a major flood and infiltrate there.

As for the white road, in the territory of Cayeux-sur-Mer, which has become a bicycle path, it has been destroyed several times in recent years in the same place, the weak point of the lunar cordon that protects the lowlands behind. We installed wooden piles to limit the flow of pebbles as part of the experiment. After a year, it is encouraging, but it will take at least three years to see.

In 2023, it will be possible to ride a bicycle across the entire department from north to south.

The mixed union is also in charge of bicycle paths…

The development is indeed taking place within the framework of the Grand Site de France initiative, which aims to improve and protect natural spaces and develop eco-mobility through a cycling plan. Bike paths are increasingly used by tourists and local residents.

In this sense, we are developing a good ten kilometers on the Mers-les-Bains/Ault section. We finish between Fort-Mahon and the Authie pass leading to Pas-de-Calais. Between Le Crotoy and Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont, it is ongoing. When we complete these three sections in 2023, it will be possible to cycle across the entire department from north to south.

And on the side of the car?

We also have a policy to manage their flows. We create parking lots in order to organize them as well as possible. For example, in Mers-les-Bains, a parking lot with 500 spaces has been installed at the entrance to the city. People can then take the shuttle organized by the municipality in the summer, or walk to the beach or to the shops in the city centre. There is also one at the entrance to Le Crotoy. Saint-Valery-sur-Somme also has its own car park at the entrance to the town, but we will improve it in 2023/2024.

Do you have any big upcoming projects?

We always have projects to implement. Construction of the Harmonized Development Zone will begin on the northern edge of Quend-Plage. The idea is to complete the city, restore the dunes and create amenities dedicated to the promenade. 73 housing units, including 18 social housing units, and a hotel will emerge from the land. In Zac du Royon, in the towns of Quend and Fort-Mahon-Plage, Pierre et Vacances will build 110 additional houses. This will be the last part of the promoter program.

Ault is undergoing a metamorphosis.

Major operations also concern Ault?

Yes. The renovation of the city center – 7 million euros – will be completed in 2023, after three years of work. The network diversion and paving operation from the church to the coast was funded under the Papi programme, in connection with the cliff retreat. Additional works are planned on agricultural areas and the plateau, in order to definitively solve the problem of stormwater runoff…

A spacious floodplain must be developed, as well as soft hydraulic facilities throughout the catchment area, especially by planting hedgerows. All this is done in close cooperation with the city hall, which bears 17% of the total cost of the works.

As for the Moulinet area, on the heights, it is a beautiful project that is finally taking shape. The cultural center has just opened. The MELT group will turn the castle into a hotel, renovate the surrounding buildings and build 40 accommodations for independent elderly people. They will be able to access certain hotel services such as meals or call the staff at any time of the day or night if needed. This project was awarded at the national level, and the Ministry of Culture declared it the winner of the Call for Expressions of Interest “Dedicated to the Housing of Tomorrow”.

Other residential areas will be built on the former football field, part of which will be social. A chance for families who can no longer find suitable accommodation in Ault, many are looking for a garden. A parking lot will also be installed to capture the flow of visitors upstream, who will then be able to reach the city center or the sea via footpaths. It will benefit from a beautiful panorama. This is good news for the city. This is where tourism develops and becomes attractive.

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