On the 9th of November 2012, the City of Biarritz presented its project for an amendment to the urban development plan (Plan Local d’Urbanisme, PLU) at the conseil des élus (‘elected council’) of the Basque Coast-Adour area. The outcome of the council’s vote is considered to represent the consent of the public to go ahead with the construction of an underground car park at the Côte des Basques. Surfrider Foundation Europe takes a closer look at this project.
Construction Project for the Beaurivage Car Park
Last September, the City of Biarritz launched the procedure for a public service concession in order to establish the technical, geological and financial feasibility of a construction project for two underground car parks planned for the Halles and Beaurivage districts. The Beaurivage underground car park would be built on two or three levels into the outcrop of the cliff at the Côte des Basques and offer spaces for 350 cars. Despite the scientific advice given by the PLU, which classified the Beaurivage grounds as unsuitable for building due to a risk of ground movements (PLU of Biarritz from the 22-12-2003), the project is advancing every day.
An Increasingly Important Battle
The Côte Basque Chapter and the Keeper of the Coast, Franck, have mobilised and are working to prevent any such project seeing the light of day. As it is Surfrider’s aim to protect and preserve our natural heritage, we are supporting them in their actions and are publishing any information relevant to the project and to related campaigns. One of those was a gathering of no less than 150 people opposed to the project in the bar ‘Les 100 Marches‘ on the 21st of October 2012. Representatives and members of associations as well as interested citizens assembled in Biarritz to speak out against the construction project. The gathering was an opportunity for many voices to be heard in opposition to this attempt at coastal artificialisation of the Côte des Basques.
The Latest Mobilisation
On the 18th of November 2012, a beach clean-up took place close to the 100 Marches car park in Biarritz with the aim of making the local population even more aware of the issue. There was a good turnout of around fifty people, who were keen to actively participate in the event. Both the Chapter and the Keeper are available for any questions by interested citizens who wish to find out more about the historical and geological aspects of the cliff.
Additionally to the gatherings and demonstrations against the project, we would also like to remind everyone of the petition that can be accessed online.
The first Keepers of the Coast Report has been online since the 12th of July 2012. It looks back at 20 years of initiatives led by the Keepers, and you can find it on the web page dedicated to the Keepers of the Coast. Please feel free to have a look at their Facebook page as well: ‘Surfrider – Keepers of the Coast’.
Léa Arrizabalaga, Environment Editor