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History of the neighbourhood
The Melanesians gave the name "Tama", meaning "opposite the reef", to this 167 metre high hill, which is the highest point on the Noumea peninsula. After the arrival of the French, it was first called Morne Montravel (Montravel Hill) and then shortened to just Montravel, named after the founder of Noumea.
The spot was used first by the army as a shooting range and then, from 1890, as a penitentiary with a fortress housing convicts assigned to urban labour. Later the Penitentiary buildings housed, in succession, construction workers for the Rivière-Salée bridges and the Ecole des Moniteurs Indigènes teacher-training school for indigenous people from 1913 and, in 1941, a company of Light Infantry Fusiliers.
In the late fifties, the sector underwent a radical change of appearance with the construction, completed in 1970, of the Pierre Lenquette housing complex, named after the Subprefect originally from Valenciennes who was appointed Secretary-General of the Territory and who died in a plane accident at Magenta. This housing complex consists of around forty small apartment blocks, containing 340 apartments. Renovation work has been carried out on it in recent years.
Neighbourhood centre objectives
The executive's major concerns are to open up the neighbourhood, reduce the amount of substandard housing, renovate existing housing, build a real neighbourhood centre and, more simply, a real neighbourhood to enable local residents, young and old alike, to find the social environment, facilities and services to which they aspire.
Urban renovation of the Montravel neighbourhood will take place in several stages and will consist of several parts :
- Optimising space by reorganising the area of municipal land (6.2 hectares) on which buildings have gradually been erected over the course of time without any overall coherence.
- Develop a neighbourhood centre by improving the main road and creating a public square which will serve as a place to meet and chat with neighbours and create a sense of social unity
- Construction of a multi-purpose hall
- Improve traffic flow by altering the road network within the neighbourhood and by building a roundabout with 5 entry and exit points
- Reclassify public areas (pavements, cycle path, roads etc.)
- Construction of new housing and renovation of the Pierre Lenquette housing complex (in progress, due for completion in June 2012)
- Overall clean-up of the neighbourhood and improvements to the sewage system