13 Dec 2011

”It’s about offering people living in Paris and around a major public space, several hectares in size, for new economic, cultural and sporting zones.” With lounges, exhibitions, restaurants, businesses, recreation areas, the Tour de France, event complexes and night clubs, the project is destined to welcome a mixture of entertainment and a crossbreeding of lucrative concessions. Short of land, the Mayor of Paris found in the global holdings of UNESCO some golden hectares, which will not stop city hall, if the project is ratified, to hunt the aid for public institutions like the Seine-Normandy Water Agency or ADEME to sensitize users to the handling of their cigarette butts and shot glasses.

This disorganized project, embellished from drafts and from seductive and simplistic photomontages, shows that despite the incontrovertible ecological stands and the derisory sustainable development semantics, there is a profound contempt for biodiversity, kingfisher and the rhythm of the river.

In this great festive, cultural, sporting and invigorating alibi, mixing on 500 pages the Musée d’Orsay and food stands, the most appalling aspect is that one will not come across any mention of the second-hand booksellers on the right and the left banks of the Seine, who are its historic and delicate allies.

The fauna and flora inventory of the riverbanks and gardens of the Seine from the same file that was submitted to the public inquiry this summer is “brief.” The location of protected species is hidden, just as is the location of trees to fell.

This development project of riverbanks entails new holds on the bed of the Seine, and the effects of these supplementary encroachments on the safety of the river traffic of tourists, merchandise, waste and hazardous material are not being studied.

The methods of controlling all of the installations in case of flooding are imprecise. Floodwaters can rise to the low banks of the Seine in less than 48 hours. The file is silent on the current abilities to withdraw in a short period of time the different modules, materials and merchandise installed and stocked on the edge of the Seine. To some extent, the City of Paris declines all responsibility in this domain and transfers the management of the crisis to the prefecture of Paris and the national government.

The detour of road traffic, with both two and four wheels, and their atmospheric and acoustic consequences are calculated carelessly, with incompetence and flippancy. The supplementary pollution resulting from the transformation, in certain sections of express roadways along the banks into urban boulevards with traffic light stops is forgotten.

The compatibility of the encroachment of the Seine’s riverbanks by privileged activities like sport, “’nature” and “culture” with the listing of the Seine’s riverbanks to UNESCO word heritage sites are not explored in a complete, rigorous and rational manner.

Only four districts of Paris are concerned. There is no synchronization with the others and the adjacent communities crossed by the Seine. A lack of cooperation is noted with other administrators of the Seine which are the port of Paris and the Navigable Waterways of France.

Consequently, Robin des Bois hopes that this capital project is reconsidered.





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