The Bétey wooded beach: a judiciary and environmental victory

The Betey wooded beach’s fight started in 2008, and finally ended in July 2013 with the annulment of the local town planning (LTP) which threatened the Betey wooded beach. This is a new victory for the Coast Keepers for which we thank in particular Clarisse who was truly committed during the last few years with her association « The Betey, a Wooded Beach to Protect ». Insights of a fight for which the citizen rallying was determining …

THREAT ON THE BETEY WOODED BEACH

In 2007, Andernos-les-Bains’s council considers the extension of the town’s marina. For this, one third of the Betey wooded beach had to be destroyed, which meant 70 trees felling and a threat on the whole ecosystem of one of the last examples of “watery forest” of the Aquitaine coast. It is without counting the noise and water pollution, the modification of the coast’s feature and the rise of turbidity that would have caused such a project.

A COMMITTED KEEPER

Raise-awareness and citizen rallying

Clarisse, Coast Keeper and president of the association « The Betey, Wooded Beach to Protect » was committed along those five last years to get a victory out of this fight. She could, through the association, mobilize Andernos-les-Bains and the basin’s unhabitants to this cause organizing with Surfrider Foundation Europe a « beach funerals » in September 2009 and circulating a petition gathering almost 5000 signatures against this project as well as the support from Catherine Grèze, environmentalist European MP.

Dialogue with local stakeholders

In 2011, the Keeper and the association participated to the first public investigation on the LTP of Andernos-les-bains. Unfortunately for the defenders of the Betey wooded beach, the commission decided to give a favorable notice to the LTP review, thus allowing the extension project of the marina by the local authority as well as the pier prolongation, the destruction of a large part of the urban distinction between Arès and Andernos to build a golf resort, the disappearance of 100 ha in a humid area  Matoucat, the building of an aerodrome landing strip, 3 ha building-land status upkeeping for the Coulin.

However, the mobilized people did not give up and they persevered, as attested by the 11 appeal registered in Bordeaux Administrative Court which followed the new LTP in October 2011 by the Town Council confirming the marina and pier extension. With a view to dialogue with all stakeholders of the project, the association met Andernos-les-Bains Mayor.

The Keeper and the association participated to the public investigation on the Betey marina extension from February 4 to March 8 2013, writing an input against the project of marina extension. If this time the investigating commissioner gave an unfavorable notice to the project, in April the Mayor announced its will to modify the initial project taking into account the collected opinions in the public investigation report in order to have a complementary investigation but Bordeaux Administrative Court, which registered 11 appeals including the prefect’s, ruled on the LTP future.

A JUDICIARY AND ENVIRONMENTAL VICTORY

Finally, the fight ended in July 2013 before the judges. Bordeaux Administrative Court annulled the town council decision of October 24 2011, the one that approved the LTP of Andernos-les-Bains and confirmed the marina extension.

The reasons given by the judges were non-respect of the law (town planning code, coast legislation) but also the absence of dialogue with local population, and last but not least the lack of consideration of the environmental dangers and threats especially the rise of the ground water however announced by the State services.

« Happiness and satisfaction of course: from this fight came the certainty to be richer of some lessons especially on the fact that we need to start studies from the beginning and consequently we need an efficient alert system. The support from a national and international association is essential because a small one does not always have jurist, marketing or water specialist skills. I would like to thank everyone who supported us through moral, advising or financial contribution. » Clarisse, Coast Keeper

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