Pedestrian and cyclist safety on Rue Jean-Baptiste Nothomb in Beggen
QUESTION POSED BY EDUARDA MACEDO
At the district meeting on 31 May 2022, the residents of Beggen drew the College of Aldermen's attention to the safety risks for cyclists and pedestrians, particularly children, on the Dommeldange-Beggen section of the PC1 cycle path. Due to a lack of appropriate signage and speed bumps on the slope at the end of Rue des Hauts-Fourneaux, cyclists enter the playground near Rue Jean-Baptiste Nothomb at high speed.
Several people had already written about this matter to the Service Circulation (Traffic Department) and the alderman responsible asking for solutions. The topic was also raised by Déi Gréng at the municipal council meeting on 2 May 2022. Councillor Benoy had suggested concrete measures, including the installation of suitable warning signs to encourage cyclists to slow down.
An accident occurred at the previously mentioned location on 29 October 2022, involving a cyclist, who broke an arm, and a five-year-old girl who broke a leg.
The College of Aldermen was well aware of these problems. Why did it not do more to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety at this location? What measures does the College of Aldermen intend to implement, and when will this take place?
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN PATRICK GOLDSCHMIDT
First, I hope the little girl and the cyclist recover soon. I hope there are no more such accidents.
The cycle path in question, the usefulness of which no one is calling into question, was created by the National Roads Administration (Administration des ponts et chaussées). Before the route was opened in March 2022, the City informed the National Roads Administration that measures needed to be taken to ensure the safety of cyclists and children. City representatives also contacted residents.
It is not a question now of assigning blame, but of improving the situation. A review is underway, bearing in mind certain constraints, e.g. the fact that lorries must be able to turn around there. The assessments of some municipal departments were made available in summer 2022, while some are still pending. A sign was installed in order to make cyclists aware of the dangerous situation and to encourage them to slow down.
The relevant municipal departments will work together to find a solution. There are no plans to remove the football nets, but they could be moved slightly and the cycle path could go around the play area in the future.
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY MAYOR LYDIE POLFER
This is a very unfortunate accident. Generally, cyclists should remain in control of the situation, that is, they must be able to brake at any moment, particularly when going downhill. Finding a solution to improve the safety of the Rue Nothomb playground is not simple. It is not possible to close the road off to traffic, given that lorries, e.g. waste collection vehicles, must be able to turn around there.
In any event, the playground will remain where it is.
In this context, I would like to point out that cyclists and those riding electric scooters should pay more attention when travelling through pedestrian areas in the city centre, where bicycles may not be ridden after 10:00.
Opening of the swimming pool in the Cents sports complex
QUESTION POSED BY CLAUDIE REYLAND
Given the population growth, there is a considerable need for sports facilities across the city (multi-use sports halls, football pitches, swimming pools, etc.).
The new sports complex in Cents opened in March 2021, but only partially, as the swimming pool could not yet be put into service. At the school commission meeting in November 2021, it was announced that the swimming pool would open before Easter 2022. The Service Sports (Sports Department) then stated that the swimming pool would be opened in mid-September 2022 for schools and for the Sports pour tous programme.
Why has the swimming pool not been able to open sooner? When will the official opening of the whole sports complex take place?
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERWOMAN SIMONE BEISSEL
The swimming pool has just opened. There was a series of technical problems that have now been resolved. The official opening will take place in the coming weeks. The pool will be open to the public when possible, and specifically at weekends.
Emergency housing in Luxembourg City
QUESTION POSED BY GUY FOETZ
This question goes back to summer 2022, when there was a fire in Bonnevoie that damaged the Métissage café and the furnished rooms on the first floor.
Those who have the misfortune of losing their housing following a force majeure incident, judicial expulsion or a lack of healthy or hygienic conditions, safety or habitability depend on their municipality arranging for them to be placed in emergency accommodation.
The legislation on this matter is vague and ineffective, given that it speaks of the responsibility of the operator or owner or, otherwise, that of the municipality. The amended law on residential tenancies (loi modifiée sur le bail à usage d’habitation) states in a non-binding manner that "it is the task of the municipal administration to ensure where possible that all persons whose place of residence is in the territory of the municipality are housed".
The responses regarding the rehousing of the inhabitants affected by the fire at the Métissage café have since been provided by the College of Aldermen. Another element of my question concerns the amended law on residential tenancies, which stipulates that "the municipal council may, through a municipal regulation, require the owners of unoccupied buildings and parts of buildings intended for use as housing located in the territory of the municipality to declare them to the municipal administration by the deadline set by this council". Does the College of Aldermen intend to propose such a regulation to the municipal council?
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN MAURICE BAUER
In 2009, the City adopted a municipal regulation to implement the provisions set out in articles 26, 27 (2) and 28 of the law of 21 September 2006 on residential tenancies. This regulation was approved the municipal council on 21 September 2009, but annulled by the Administrative Tribunal through its ruling of 17 February 2011. The City is awaiting clarification on certain aspects, particularly regarding the definition of unoccupied building.
Impact of the discharge of wastewater into the Alzette following a technical problem at the Beggen water treatment plant
QUESTION POSED BY FRANCOIS BENOY
On the night of 13 to 14 September 2019, a technical problem with the control systems in the City water treatment plant in Beggen led to wastewater that had not undergone biological treatment being discharged into the Alzette. According to information provided by the Ministry of the Environment (Ministre de l'Environnement) in response to my parliamentary question no. 1206, wastewater leaked into the Alzette for approximately 20 hours, which equates to 20,000 m3 being spilled.
The Ministry of the Environment ordered the City, through a ministerial decree, to appoint a consultancy to assess the environmental damage caused by this malfunction. Any possible measures to be implemented to repair the environmental damage, restore the Alzette to its previous condition and compensate the affected fishing plot lessors would be determined by the expert appraisal.
The Ministry of the Environment also offered several recommendations to syndicates and municipalities to avoid such events happening, including installing surveillance systems with probes that set off an alarm if critical parameters are exceeded, re-evaluating emergency plans stipulating the procedures in the event of an alarm and establishing an emergency response team with qualified personnel.
Has the impact assessment been carried out? What are the main conclusions of the expert appraisal? What measures have been put in place by the City to repair the damage and to avoid such accidents in the future?
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERWOMAN SIMONE BEISSEL
A study called "Assessment of the Environmental Impact Following Two incidents of Accidental Pollution of the Alzette in September 2019" was carried out by the consultancy Dubost - Environnement et milieux aquatiques. The final report from this study, dated October 2020, stated that there was temporary damage – particularly, dead fish – but that there has been no lasting impact on the Alzette. The compensation for the fishermen who suffered damage is around €3,000.
The City is involved in projects to restore nature in the Alzette on the stretch between Luxembourg City and Mersch. These nature restoration projects, which will improve the water quality in the Alzette, include compensatory measures.
Despite five reminders, the City is still waiting for the ministerial decree enabling it to proceed with the final report on compensation.
The City has implemented four measures to avoid these types of events being repeated. The outflow at the Beggen water treatment plant is constantly monitored by an independent remote surveillance device. Any unused facility will be completely disconnected in the future. Routine checks are carried out on weekends and public holidays by a response team. The contact details and phone numbers for the Beggen water treatment plant have been shared with CGDIS, the Water Management Agency (Administration de la gestion de l'eau
Youth initiatives, including "Lëtz Discuss"
QUESTION POSED BY EDUARDA MACEDO
There is a risk the European Year of Youth 2022 may end without the City having established initiatives to achieve the related objectives, particularly that of strengthening the civic engagement of young people by showcasing their role in building a more green, inclusive and digital future.
Young people aged 12 to 26 were, admittedly, invited (in the July/August edition of City magazine and through posters about the "Lëtz Discuss" project in the city’s advertising spaces) to answer an online survey. According to City magazine, the suggestions will be analysed with the respondents between October 2022 and January 2023 before being presented to the College of Aldermen and the City's departments.
In what way were young people involved in the creation of the survey? Was the children and youth advisory committee involved in setting the objectives to achieve?
What other avenues and/or structures, beyond the City's usual methods of communication, were used to inform the public about this survey? What is the deadline for participating? How many responses has the City received so far? What is the age breakdown of respondents?
Respondents do not have to give identifying information unless they wish to participate in the draw for cinema tickets. How does the College of Aldermen envisage involving respondents in the analysis of the suggestions? Will the children and youth advisory committee also be involved in this? What is the events calendar being offered in the districts? Could the College of Aldermen use this as an opportunity to raise awareness among young people about voting? Does the College of Aldermen plan to close "Lëtz Discuss" with a public event?
RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN MAURICE BAUER
A series of responses regarding the "Lëtz Discuss" project was provided in February 2022 following a related question from Councillor Correia Da Veiga.
The Service Jeunesse (Youth Department) organises a wide range of projects and events for young people every year. Young people were not involved in the development of the survey, but the City maintains a constant dialogue with youth centres and the Scouts. The "Lëtz Discuss" forum has been organised since 2002, when Viviane Loschetter was the alderwoman responsible for social policy. Its objectives have remained the same. The City maintains contact with young people, not only through youth centres and the Scouts, but also through social media and the Hoplr app. No deadline for participating has been set.
To date, the City has received 21 responses (4 people aged 12–14, 4 people aged 15–17, 3 people aged 18–20, 4 people aged 21–23 and 6 people aged 25–27).
All respondents, Scout groups and youth centres will be invited to the forums. The City will work to ensure that the largest number of young people can be involved. Those who have not yet responded can still get involved.
The events calendar is currently being developed by the Service Jeunesse in collaboration with youth centres and the Scouts. There are no plans to raise awareness among young people about participation in elections as part of this, as the College of Aldermen did not want to confuse the topics and the vast majority of the young people targeted by this project have not yet reached voting age.
The results of the forums will be discussed with politicians. The Service Jeunesse et Intervention sociale (Youth and Social Intervention Department) will inform the young people about the follow-up to these results. The results will also be published in City magazine.