Local officials speak out: Stella Dupont (Chalonnes-sur-Loire, Maine-et-Loire)

Published on 05 September 2012 - Updated 12 July 2013
Cet article date d'il y a plus de 7 ans

Interview with Stella Dupont, Mayor of Chalonnes-sur-Loire, published in the 81st issue of "La Loire et ses terroirs" (summer 2012).

What were the reasons behind your deliberations in favour of the Loire Valley World Heritage management plan?

Chalonnes is the gateway downstream of the UNESCO site, which places our parish particularly in the spotlight and perhaps gives us a little more responsibility than others in protecting the site’s Exceptional Universal Value. This situation is above all an asset on which we are counting to promote our territory and open our town more up to the Loire. Historically, Chalonnes has developed by giving pride of place to its hillsides and the plateau through viticulture and capitalising on its mining wealth. Now, we hope to take greater account of the Loire in the town and our actions by enhancing the Loire heritage and culture associated with the river. Signing the management plan is a moral undertaking for our parish to strengthen this commitment. 

In your management, have you begun to take account of the universal value of the Loire Valley? For which projects and how is this put into practice?

Before the management plan was even approved, we had undertaken and implemented several projects that showcase and protect the architectural heritage as well as the wealth of the natural environments of our parish. To mention just a few of these – we renovated the Gambetta quay so that it now provides an area for walking and relaxing overlooking the Loire, for locals and visitors alike. Since these renovations, this area has been embraced by users in no time and is today a popular spot for hosting our public events and the stage for our new cultural “Festival of the quays”, held the same weekend as the Heritage Days.  

Also for the purposes of preserving our architectural heritage, we are finishing revising the Local Urban Planning Project (PLU), one of whose priorities is to protect this cultural landscape by extending to the whole of the built-up façade overlooking the Loire the protection scope of Saint-Maurille Church. Through this protection scope extension, we hope that the old buildings of the Notre-Dame district will be preserved rather than damaged by risky real-estate projects. This PLU revision also includes a very significant reduction in plots of land open to urbanisation. In keeping with the second French Environment Round Table, we have decided to make our spaces go a long way, protect farmland and our landscapes by limiting urban sprawl. The general idea is to build “the town on the town”, by making use of “infills” and renovating the old centre as far as possible. 

To protect and enhance the natural environments associated with the river, we are lobbying, alongside the Maine-et-Loire County Council, for the designation and management of a sensitive nature spot in the valley between Rochefort and Chalonnes. This area between Loire and Louet is home to abundant fauna and flora, in close step with the pastoral management of meadows. We want to encourage farmers to run these areas in an extensive and nature-friendly way. 

Last but not least, to give a final example of our Loire projects, we are working on creating a river stop-over to welcome tourists coming to Chalonnes from the river in a designated area fully equipped to receive sailors and their boats. This stop-over will be built on the mooring pontoon already put in place by the Loire-Layon community of communes. All of these actions are helping to take greater account of the exceptional heritage harboured within our parish. 

On this website

Online

With the amiable authorisation of " La Loire et ses terroirs ". 

Issue no. 81, summer 2012. 

Stella Dupont (Chalonnes-sur-Loire, 49)