City also celebrating western Lausanne urban development award
Lausanne, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Lausanne handed its taxpayers good news Wednesday 19 January, saying it will reduce the city’s debt by CHF25 million in 2010, after a reduction of CHF2 million in 2009.
The city, which has grown by 6,500 inhabitants since 2007, has invested more than CHF600m in the past four years for what it calls “modernization and efforts to increase its attractiveness”.
The city’s mayor, Daniel Brélaz, has come in for heavy criticism for the size of the debt and 24 Heures (Fr) points out that some investments planned for 2010 were not carried out in order to reduce the debt, possibly in time to woo voters before coming elections.
The debt reduction covers 1.1 percent of the city’s CHF2.3 billion debt, which has grown by CHF44.55m in the past four years and which includes a CHF141 million increase to cover recapitalization of the city’s pension fund for municipal workers.
More housing on the books as international population boosts city’s size
The local government says it plans to continue its investment programme, pointing to the debt reduction as a positive sign that city finances are under control, even if the debt remains substantial.
It points out in its statement about the payoff that the city’s assets are greater than its debt.
One part of the current investment programme is increasing housing by 3,000 homes. Future investment projects call for an additional 5,000 homes by 2020 to ease the tight housing market.
Lausanne has a population of 135,000. It outgrew the size it had maintained for 30 years in 2008, thanks, according to municipal authorities, to an influx of international workers and a boom in the 18- to 24-year-old population. It also bypassed Bern to become Switzerland’s fourth largest city, after Zurich, Basel and Geneva.
Growth not limited to city as western Lausanne region booms
Patrimoine Suisse (Swiss Heritage Society) this week awarded its annual Prix Wakker simultaneously to nine communes in the western Lausanne region for their work together, creating a common identity, safeguarding their heritage and putting in place a joint future development programme.
The communes that received the award are: Bussigny, Chavannes, Crissier, Ecublens, Prilly, Renens, St-Sulpice, Villars-Ste-Croix and Lausanne.
The Swiss Heritage Society, which more often seeks to offer rewards for preserving the past, says the prize this year was awarded to the region for its vision.
The area was farmland not long ago and 20 years ago it began to grow topsy-turvy, with construction and roads created with little coordinated planning. The communes agreed to call a halt to construction in 2000 in order to plan in an orderly way.
The vision, for the Wakker prize consists of the urban reorganization of a chunk of canton Vaud. “This vision, sketched out 10 years ago, has led to a dynamic transformation that aims to improve the quality of life of its population. The Swiss Heritage Society salutes this shared commitment to reinforce a neighborhood spirit in a region where initially there was virtually no sense of self-identity.”
The region is expected to grow by 20,000-30,000 people in the next nine years, and the region’s plan should serve as a good example to the rest of Switzerland, according to the heritage society, which points in particular to the successful process of consulting and including citizens in the development process. It praises the reliance on an open bid process for architecture projects.
Fourth time Vaud given the national Wakker prize
Western Lausanane region’s prize is the fourth given by the national society to Vaud, after Saint Prex (1973), Montreux (1990) and Yverdons-les-Bains (2009).