A false note for the defenders of the concert and musical training center project.
On Sunday, the inhabitants of Geneva, Switzerland, expressed their refusal against the City of Music, on the occasion of a referendum.
50.86% of the votes were opposed to this ambitious project, a slight majority since around 850 votes made it possible to make a difference.
A very disappointing result in particular the lawyer Bruno Mégevand, at the origin of the project, who found this failure "
" in the pages of the Swiss daily
Read also: The unfinished Philharmonic
It all started more than seven years ago from the observation of the lack of infrastructure dedicated to music in Geneva, both in terms of capacity, acoustics and comfort, as well as the low number of concert halls and rehearsals for musicians in training.
The idea then arose of creating a Cité de la Musique, in order to accommodate three rooms including a philharmonic with 1,580 seats, but also to house the OSR, the Orchester de Suisse romande, and the 500 students of the Haute École de music.
Library, restaurants, bars and exhibition spaces open to the public are also on the program of this ambitious City, all bordered by a one hectare park that is freely accessible.
A 1580-seat philharmonic hall was provided for in the architects' plans.
City of music
A project of 300 million Swiss francs (275 million euros) planned to be financed by private funds, with a contribution from the Confederation for the part dedicated to the University of Music. As of 2014, the possible locations are under study, and in 2015, a first contact was made with the UN concerning the Land of Feuillantines, a fallow park belonging to the organization. A year later, the agreement was reached with the latter, an architectural project was accepted in 2017, then the plan was accepted by the City in 2020. A project already well under way, which was to lay its first stone in 2022, after validation. final by the inhabitants themselves on June 13, 2021. But it is this referendum, for which the participation rate rose to 42.61% of the vote, which struck a violent blow.stop at the musical dream.
Accusations of "
" and "
A heavy disappointment for the defenders of the project, but not a real surprise either.
Because it had been a while since everyone was in tune with this City of Music.
Thus, Geneva musicians, residents of the neighborhood or even politicians from different sides have not hesitated to show their opposition for several months.
Thus, according to the Swiss edition of
, the UDC (democratic union of the center), the Greens and Ensemble à Gauche are particularly opposed to the project.
Most for ecological reasons, but also for economic reasons.
The construction of the Cité would effectively lead to the demolition of a villa dating from 1880 present on the plot, as well as a park of 160 trees.
A surprising argument, when we know that the park, in fallow land, is currently closed to the public, and that it is planned in the plans to build another with even more trees.
Read also: In Switzerland, gradual reopening of cultural places
The percussionist Béatrice Graf, fiercely opposed to the project, explained in
that this project "
does not take into account the degradation of the planet
An observation shared by Julien Dumarcey, president of the referendum committee, who thinks that "
the urgency is not cultural but climatic
", criticizing in
excessiveness of this project
" and its "
He also pleads for a better distribution of the town's money, justifying that "
the millions spent will be as much money from which the communities will not be able to benefit for other music, some of which are precarious
A project not yet fully buried
But despite the failure of the referendum, all may not yet be lost for the City of Music, reassure its supporters. Thus, Olivier Gürtner, municipal councilor in the City of Geneva and head of the socialist group, confided that in view of the "
incredibly tight score, the Council of State can decide to override, in the name of the superior interest of the canton.
Finally, an appeal is not excluded, faced with the error of a Swiss postman who had hit the headlines a few weeks ago. On May 22, he found himself in front of the closed cantonal administration, and therefore decided to leave the boxes containing 7,000 voting envelopes unattended and without a padlock, on the sidewalk for a whole weekend. A quack that could well change the fate of the City of Music and perhaps, allow it to emerge.