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"Les Pesqueyroux" Association
 


Inauguration of the Henri Gonthier Stele

People, Ideas

“Les Pesqueyroux” is twenty years old.
The original team has only changed very slightly since “Les Pesqueyroux” was established and most of the members to have left the association have only done so when moving out the neighbourhood as was the case for Marion Decoudun, Béatrice Desmartin and M. Roque. Two others left the committee for personal reasons: Jacqueline Clément in 1995 and Marie-France Gouze in 2001. Régine Bouzounie-Doat, however, holds the record for longevity having been the association’s secretary since the very beginning.

     
 


Presentation of the Fargaudie Report

 

Next to the official flow chart which each yearly general assembly adopts, is a list of councillors who actively help the association. Anne-Marie Cocula Vaillières, encountered at the University of Bordeaux in 1982, was Les Pesqueyroux’s godmother before becoming, during their 10th general assembly, their honorary president. Yann Laborie has shared with the association his inexhaustible supply of knowledge about river transport from as early as 1984. The architect, Jean Loup Daele joined the group in 1987 during the exhibition about rural architecture in the canton. And finally, André Goustat has frequently been called upon since 1996.

   
 

It was, in fact, in May 1996 that a breach appeared in the canal causing water to pour into the river near the port of Lanquais. As a result of the 1964 Tour de France accident, the Port de Couze bridge was altered and all navigation between Mauzac and St Capraise stopped. This latest accident risked sounding the death knell for the canal. Les Pesqueyroux who had been dreaming of creating « a walk...to the gentle rhythm of a gabare » saw all their plans in danger of disappearing and so embarked on a long campaign for the restoration of the canal. Martine Tran, a member of the local council since the 1995 elections, became a member of the association and joined the board. Frédéric Gontier, President since 1987 was voted by the commune onto the Inter Commune Lalinde Canal Syndicate. The two of them engaged in a battle for the restoration of the canal no matter what the cost.
The Lanquais Port accident provoked reflection for the association’s members : protection of the river transport heritage does not only involve preserving ancient ruins, as important is an almost militant campaign of information, the need to convince people and influence local authorities. The association cannot exist in a purely defensive role, it needs to be known and to unite with others engaged in the same pursuit. The trauma of 1996 gave rise to an ambitious project : for the transport of merchandise to return to the canal. From there on, the choice of methods and allies can only take place in a pragmatic fashion.