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Patrols by the private security firm in the Gare district

QUESTION POSED BY TOM KRIEPS

In her reply dated 19 May 2021 to a parliamentary question posed by Deputy Marc Goergen (Piratepartei), the Minister of Justice said that an investigation into private security firms' activities on the ground revealed that their activities might not be in compliance with the terms of the authorisation, and thus with the law on private security firms' activities. Is the City of Luxembourg aware of the reminders of the law sent to the security firm in question by the Ministry of Justice? If so, has the City received copies of those reminders? Does it intend to continue its contractual relationship with a firm that has not received ministerial authorisation? Doesn't the City run the risk of suffering adverse consequences arising as a result of the firm's failure to receive authorisation? Why is the contract with GDL no longer in force? Why has the City contracted with another private security firm, where a sizeable number of its 1,200 employees are currently facing redundancy?

RESPONSE PROVIDED BY THE MAYOR, LYDIE POLFER

The City was informed of the existence of the reminders of the law through the Minister of Justice's reply of 19 May 2021 to Deputy Marc Goergen's parliamentary question. Since the reminders were not addressed to the City, it did not receive copies of them. Consequently, it is not aware of their content, nor of the reasons for them. The City has no information either on how GDL Security responded to the reminders. The public procurement contract with GDL Security was for four months, starting on 1 December 2020. The contract was entered into in accordance with the legislation on public procurement – the law of 8 April 2018 on public procurement, as amended (loi modifiée du 8 avril 2018 sur les marchés publics) – following a procedure that precludes the provision of services for more than four months. The contract in question ended on 31 March 2021. A new contract was entered into with 4GS until November 2021, further to a European open public procurement procedure, in accordance with the legislation on public procurement. As G4S submitted the most advantageous tender, based on the criteria established in the specifications, the City had to award them the contract. The fact that G4S had announced a redundancy plan is not a criterion for exclusion, according to the law on public procurement. The company did not ultimately go ahead with the redundancy plan, but instead implemented an employment retention plan.

QUESTION POSED BY ANA CORREIA DA VEIGA

It is regrettable that, despite the pandemic, legal evictions have been reauthorised, since April. The Chamber of Deputies refused to pass a motion tabled by the déi Lénk group requesting the suspension of evictions of tenants until 31 December 2021. The City must intervene when evictions are carried out on order of the court. How many legal evictions have been carried out in Luxembourg City since 1 April 2021? How many evicted tenants have benefited so far from City-owned emergency accommodation, and how many City-owned emergency accommodation units are still available? Has the City had to resort to using hotel rooms, and could that be an option if the situation were to get worse in the coming months? According to the Ministry of Home Affairs' (Ministère de l’Intérieur) circular no. 3324 of 24 November 2015, such a measure could be implemented at no cost to the City, which would even receive €100 per unit per month to cover administrative costs. Is the City engaging with other social partners to find accommodation for evicted tenants? Does the City inform tenants about the specific procedures and conditions for legal evictions? What action do the City's Service Logement (Housing Department) and Office social (Social Welfare Office) take, and how much support do they privide, from the time a legal eviction is announced until the day it is carried out? To what extent, and how many times, has the City had to evict tenants from City-owned accommodation in the last two years? What has become of the tenants who were evicted?

RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN MAURICE BAUER

Since 1 April 2021, 23 evictions have been carried out in Luxembourg City, including 2 from business premises. Of those 23 evictions, 6 households (16 persons) have been rehoused in City-owned emergency accommodation. These shelters have a total of 27 rooms for the purpose of emergency accommodation, and can accommodate up to 92 people. The number of available emergency accommodation units changes constantly. Since 1 April 2021, the City has had to use one hotel room to rehouse an evicted household, since the City had no emergency accommodation catering to the specific needs of one member of that household. The City does not collaborate with other stakeholders in this regard. It attempts to find an appropriate solution for each individual concerned. It is private owners of rental accommodation who initiate eviction proceedings. The Service Logement is often notified on short notice – three days in advance – that an eviction is to be carried out. The Service Logement is required to store the moveable property of evicted tenants who have no other storage solution – pursuant to Article 30 of the law of 21 September 2006 on residential tenancies, as amended, which provides that the municipality must store, in appropriate premises, the moveable property of evicted persons – and, if necessary and insofar as possible, to assist the persons concerned in finding alternative accommodation – pursuant to Article 26 of the above-mentioned law, which stipulates that the municipal authorities must, insofar as possible, provide accommodation for anyone who resides in the municipality. The Service Logement also explains the procedures and conditions of the eviction process to the persons concerned. If a concerned household gets in touch with the Office social, the office will often contact the Service Logement, but the Office social is only required to provide the persons concerned with assistance in completing the formalities to prevent a forced eviction, and finding accommodation before the eviction is carried out, pursuant to the law on social welfare assistance. In the last two years, the City has carried out nine evictions from City-owned accommodation, further to failures to pay rent despite several reminders, the use of weapons, harassment, and threatening behaviour towards other tenants.

 

Calming traffic in the Gare district

QUESTION POSED BY HÉLOÏSE BOCK

Despite the pandemic, there has been an increase in traffic in residential streets in the Gare district, in particular in Rue d'Anvers, Rue Adolphe Fischer, Rue de Strasbourg and Rue Michel Rodange. Dangerous situations often arise, as do arguments between drivers in a hurry. Residents have complained about the fact that, owing to works being carried out on the Buchler bridge, traffic from the southern part of the district has been rerouted through 30 km/h zones. This detour must be ended as soon as possible. Drive-through traffic from the motorway and the south of the country should instead be rerouted via Rue de Hollerich. Two traffic lights could be installed at the junction with Boulevard Charles Marx. Does a detailed analysis of traffic in the Gare district exist, like the maps for other districts published on the City of Luxembourg's web site? If so, can the municipal council obtain a copy? The purpose of the aforementioned map would be to discourage drive-through traffic in residential streets by adopting the same traffic-calming principles as those adopted for the district's main arteries during the works carried out for the tram project. When will traffic-calming measures be introduced, such as opening a bicycle boulevard along Rue Adolphe Fischer, and reversing the direction of traffic in the lower part of Rue de Strasbourg? Could this latter measure be implemented immediately, before the start of the road upgrade works? Does the City measure air pollution in the Gare district, or is it in a position to carry out such measurements? What other measures could be considered to calm and reroute drive-through traffic in residential streets, to preserve residents' quality of life?

RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN PATRICK GOLDSCHMIDT

Drive-through traffic in the Gare district has been a problem for many years. For the tram project, the City examined possibilities for reorganising traffic flows in the district. Changes in favour of the tram and cyclists have already helped to reduce the number of cars in Avenue de la Liberté and Avenue de la Gare. A 30 km/h zone has been implemented across the entire Plateau Bourbon over the last few years. The College of Aldermen recently decided that, in the future, it will no longer be possible for motorists to turn right at Place de Paris, which will discourage them from using Rue d'Anvers. In autumn 2021, using data collected from counters, the City will analyse the use of the bicycle boulevards opened in three different locations in Luxembourg City. A decision will then be taken as to whether bicycle boulevards should be opened in other locations. The detour mentioned by Councillor Bock was put in place only for the duration of the works being carried out in Place de Paris, and for traffic heading towards Bonnevoie. The detour is only temporary and will end when the works are completed, at which point traffic in the residential areas will calm down again. Reversing the direction of traffic on Rue de Strasbourg, on the section between Rue de la Fonderie and Rue Jean-Baptiste Merkels, should discourage quite a few motorists from driving through the Gare district. Since it is a route nationale (type of trunk road), the City needs to secure the Ministry of Mobility's (Ministère de la Mobilité) approval before this measure can be implemented. Approval should be forthcoming in the coming days. The related traffic regulation will then be submitted to the municipal council for approval. The City will examine the most appropriate measure for prompting drivers to observe the 30 km/h speed limit (possibly by installing speed bumps). The City will continue to carry out traffic counts. The Environmental Officer has been tasked with installing air-quality monitoring stations in the Plateau Bourbon (in addition to those already installed in the vicinity of Avenue de la Gare and the Rocade).

"Sportwochen" organised by the City

QUESTION POSED BY TOM KRIEPS

The "Sportwochen" programme has become a victim of its own success: most of the activities are already full on the day the brochure is published. Does the City plan to take measures to ensure that a greater number of people can take part in the "Sportwochen", bearing in mind that offerings of this kind are a good way for children and young people to relieve stress, especially in these times of COVID-19?

RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERWOMAN SIMONE BEISSEL

You are right, the "Sportwochen" are a huge success. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of courses increased from 17 to 19. In 2019, 320 places were available, and 310 youngsters (54% boys, 46% girls) registered. The Service Sports (Sports Department) has put a lot of effort into amending the date on which registrations open, ensuring that registrations are processed more quickly and offering a more diverse range of sporting activities with more available places. It has also put in place a system that prioritises Luxembourg City residents, who now receive the brochure one week earlier than the residents of other municipalities. The brochure was distributed on 10 February 2021 to 6,750 youngsters aged 11 to 17 residing in Luxembourg City, so they could be the first to register. The official opening of registrations was announced one week later in a press release. When registration opened for youngsters residing in other municipalities, the first course – "mini aquatic multisports"(mini multisports nautiques) in Lultzhausen – was already full. The City's Service Sports is currently unable to add more activities to the "Sportwochen" programme due to a lack of personnel, as it is proving increasingly difficult to hire young coordinators willing to work for a salary considered too low (the amount of which is set by the State), but above all because they are increasingly reluctant to take on the wide-ranging responsibilities involved in supervising groups of children. Additionally, the Service Sports is in competition with other public and private organisations that hire qualified coordinators for their own courses. The Level-B Youth Coordinator courses organised by the City are not sufficient to remedy this lack of coordinators, as fewer and fewer youths are signing up for this course. Nor is the situation helped by the public health measures currently in force. The City will continue to undertake efforts in this regard to improve the offering for the benefit of the city's youths.

Electric vehicle charging stations

QUESTION POSED BY CARLO BACK

The development of charging infrastructure is an important factor for achieving mass adoption of electric vehicles. Many charging stations have already been installed in Luxembourg City, particularly in public car parks. Many of our residents do not have a garage where they can charge their vehicles' batteries. Commuters and visitors also need charging stations. Does the College of Aldermen plan to enlarge the network of charging stations by installing stations in those Luxembourg City public car parks that are not yet equipped – e.g. the Monterey car park – and by installing more stations in those that are already equipped – e.g. the Bouillon car park – as well on public thoroughfares throughout the city? Does the College of Aldermen also plan to install quick-charging stations? If that is the case, according to what schedule will the stations be installed?

RESPONSE PROVIDED BY ALDERMAN PATRICK GOLDSCHMIDT

The installation of charging stations in Luxembourg City is undertaken as part of a national project stemming from the Grand Ducal regulation of 3 December 2015 on public electric mobility infrastructure, as amended (règlement grand-ducal modifié du 3 décembre 2015 relatif à l’infrastructure publique liée à la mobilité électrique). The implementation plan provides for the installation of 800 stations across the country, including 102 in Luxembourg City and 104 at the city's Park-and-Ride facilities. The Monterey car park will be equipped with six stations. Stations will also be installed in the Knuedler, Martyrs and Fort Wedell car parks. The Bouillon car park will be equipped with a further 33 stations, and more stations will also be installed in the Rocade car park. Each station can charge two cars at the same time. To answer your question as to whether the City can do even more, I would draw your attention to the fact that it is up to the State to take steps to ensure that charging stations are available across the country. The City supports the national programme. It also supports requests from private companies, such as CREOS, that wish to install charging stations in public spaces, but those stations would have to be financed by the companies themselves as a business venture, and not by the City of Luxembourg.