At a packed municipal meeting on Wednesday the proposed wind turbines project for Maisons was convincingly rejected. A meeting of the council to discuss the wind turbine project was, as usual, open to all and many residents and owners of second home took the opportunity to make their opposition to the project known. The anti Wind Turbine association, Collectif citoyen pour les Corbières vivantes, had put out a leaflet outlining the key arguments against the wind turbines which help, despite it’s rather unscientific and unproven claims, and at times overly hysterical tone it appears to have been highly effective in mobilising both residents and part time residents alike.
My own thoughts on the wind turbines can be read here, WIND TURBINES IN THE HAUTES CORBIERES . The bigger picture is that the Hautes Corbieres is in serious decline, our villages are deserted outside of July and August, agricultural activity is slowly but seemingly in unstoppable decline as the old wine makers retire and no new activity steps up to take their place. For the historical context of the process see THE DECLINE OF MAISONS AND THE HAUTES CORBIERES.
The political situation does not look promising, the new Macron government has proposed 17 billion euros with of cuts in local authority spending. The urban rural subsidy is in grave danger. Small villages like Maisons are directly in their sights. 38 residents have a local council, a part time secretary, two part time workers and a trainee. I predict that villages below a certain size will see their administration seriously diminished if not abolished, probably merged with neighboring villages, or responsibility passed up to the Canton. If the latter happens then Maisons will have one voice arguing for increasingly limited resources from Tuchan. Previous experience of this type of rationalisatin indicates that peripheral locations, which in the Canton of Tuchan Maisons certainly is, suffer the worse drop of of services, not least because of the time it takes services to arrive. The on-going running down of Departments and the handing of responsibility to Regions could also push decision making and budgets further away.
The wind turbines project was not ideal, but the issue is not one of either or, it is one of an unpleasant choice that gives resources to a hard pressed area or nothing. We have chosen to do nothing. It is a shame. Imagine taking just 30% of the revenue from the wind turbines and using it to set up a micro finance scheme to fund new agricultural activity. Maisons has a wide range of possibilities, from an organic market gardens, honey, growing and transforming aromatic herbs, mushroom growing, certain types of fruit trees, olives, goats and cheese making. All of these require a small amount of start up funding. Now we don’t have that option.
As I say I think that rejecting the wind turbines is a mistake, however that is the feeling of the village, both full time residents and part time residents alike. A project like the wind turbines cannot be imposed on a reluctant population, nor should it. The people of Maisons have made their opinion felt, and their decision, no matter how regrettable should be respected.