Sophia : a first step to the community of towns
Fourteen towns including Valbonne, Antibes, Biot and Vallauris signed a development charter which proves their wish to work together and then delimits the area of the community.
It is the first real step to the creation of a community of towns at Sophia Antipolis. The Mayors of an overall of fourteen towns covering the research park, signed on Monday afternoon in Valbonne a development charter. It concerns four of the five historic towns on the research park (Valbonne, Antibes, Biot, Vallauris-Golfe-Juan), and ten others located in the surroundings (Chateauneuf, Gourdon, La Colle-sur-Loup, Le Rouret, Roquefort-les-Pins, Tourettes-sur-Loup, Opio, Villeneuve-Loubet and Saint-Paul).This charter, in ten points, and which has to be approved by each town council, proves the wish of these towns to work together.Which position will Mougins take ?However, there is still a lot to do. The area first. It isn’t definitely delimited. An important matter is still pending: what will be the position of Mougins, the other “historic” town of the research park? Mougins seems to opt out for Cannes at the moment. Bernard Brochand, the Mayor of Cannes, does very well consider this town in the area of a community built around Cannes. In an interview given to Nice Matin, at the beginning of last week, he declared that, according to him, ”the natural area includes eight towns: Cannes, Le Cannet, Mandelieu, Théoule, Mougins, La Roquette, Auribeau and Pégomas.Concerning Courmes and Caussols, which seemed to be interested in the community of Sophia, they preferred not to participate for the moment but they could join thereafter. Saint-Paul, however, which was not part of the list a few weeks ago, is now part of the ones who signed it.Objective : January 1st 2002This area, which now begins to be delimited, should then be approved by the prefect. Thereafter, matters concerning the functioning of this community will have to be developed. The charter, which was adopted on Monday July 2nd 2001, deals with the housing policy, public transport, respect of the towns’ sovereignty. Now, matters will have to be detailed: definition of optional competences of the community, ensure representativeness of each town, set up commissions, establish financial simulations.All these plans will have to begin within the aim of an official creation of the community of towns on January 1st 2002. The matter is of a great importance considering subventions given by the State to help at the creation of communities. For the community of Sophia, with about 150,000 inhabitants, the global functioning grant is worth 37.5 million francs per year.A joint union to manage SophiaAnother matter already dealt with was the relationship with the county council. It is particularly sensitive for the research park. Until now, through the Symisa (Joint union of Sophia), the department had the economic power on the research park. This power will automatically be transferred to the towns, as soon as the community of towns will be officially established.On this point, a consensus agreement is about to be found. The new community of towns, as Jean Léonetti suggested, the deputy-mayor of Antibes, could create a joint union in which all partners will be gathered. It will not only gather the towns (through the community), with the department and the chamber of commerce Nice Côte d’Azur, but also the region and the State.