Biarritz, France


During the local council meeting of the 14th of September 2012, the Town Hall of Biarritz voted on a public service concession for the construction of an underground multi-storey car park to replace the current Beaurivage car park, as well as the construction of a panoramic elevator, linking the new Beaurivage car park to the Boulevard Prince de Galles (Basque Coast Beach). The battle against coastal artificialisation, particularly through urbanisation, has always been at the heart of Surfrider Foundation Europe's actions, because all coastal artificialisation destroys the balance and the viability of coastal ecosystems.  As things stand, this underground car park project would damage an exceptional and fragile site. Franck, the Keeper in this battle and a volunteer at the local SFE Basque Coast Chapter, is pitting himself against its realisation and has the association's full support.

In its current form, the Beaurivage underground car park project threatens an exceptional and fragile site, which is why we are jointly opposing its realisation. Our arguments are simple and incontrovertible.  The area is unstable and cannot support such a large-scale project without being subjected to irreversible disturbances. Moreover, the PLU (land use plan) for Biarritz protects this area and prohibits 'any kind of land use on this soil'. Additionally, the French Law on Coastlines prohibits 'the construction of cemented or asphalted car parking facilities' and therefore does not authorise the extension of the existing car park (104 current spaces versus 350 spaces planned), and it points out the dangers inherent in human overcrowding of sensitive sites. What is more, the Basque Coast is surrounded by a Natura 2000 site. There are a great number of pollution risks in connection with this construction project.

To oppose the project, Franck, the Keeper, and the SFE Basque Coast Chapter of which he is a member, are organising various events to evoke public interest in this threat to the Basque Coast. On the 21st of October 2012, over 100 people got together at the '100 Marches' bar to express their opposition to this project. On the 18th of November 2012, Franck organised a beach clean-up to make the local population aware of the site's beauty and fragility. Several joint letters expressing people's opposition to the project were sent to the Direction Départementale des Territoires et de la Mer (Departmental Authority for Territories and Seas) and to the Prefecture. As the Town Hall of Biarritz is refusing to release the report on the sub-soil investigations, a request for access to this document was sent to the Committee on Access to Administrative Documents. With the aim of informing and mobilising even larger parts of the population, Franck is currently working on a video project for which he carried out interviews with various coastal stakeholders on the French Law on Coastlines, coastal development, and the history of landslides at the Basque Coast.

The invitation to tender is now closed but no information has been released on the contractor. If you would like to oppose this project, you can sign the petition currently online.

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Coastal Development
and Climate Change

Coastal erosion, rising water levels, maritime transport, offshore platforms: the health of our coasts and oceans is permanently under threat.

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