Europa city, triangle of Gonesse, France

Farmers and environmentalists have been against this mega-project of urban development near Paris, supported by Auchan and the Chinese investor Wanda.


Description

Farmers and environmentalists have been against this mega-project near Paris, driven by Auchan and the Chinese investor Wanda. On 6 March 2018, the administrative tribunal annulled the authorisation for the  immense "greenfield" complex EuropaCity, which is supposed to house supermarkets, hotels and cultural equipments. This would take place in the so-called "zone d'aménagement concerté" (ZAC) in the ""triangle of Gonesse", north of Paris. The EIA was considered to be insufficient. The administrative tribunal of Cergy-Pontoise considered that there not enough information for this project that would eliminate 280 hectares of agricultural land. The project would be between the airports of  Roissy et Le Bourget, the ZAC would have 80 hectares at a cost of 3.1 billion euros. Criticism has been in terms of "gigantism" and loss of agricultural soils. (1) (2) It is an emblematique example of the conflicts in France between large urbanization plans and the preservation of agricultural areas. It is another GPII, Grand Projet Inutile Imposé (2). The project has been confronted by strong local opposition and has also attracted opposition by agriculturalist interests and personalities. 

Basic Data
NameEuropa city, triangle of Gonesse, France
CountryFrance
ProvinceÎle-de-France
SiteGonesse
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Specific CommoditiesBuilding services, hotels.
Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn March 2011, the collective for the Gonesse Triangle created itself following the EuropaCity announcement after considering it a GPI Grand Projet Inutile, translated as Great Useless Project. It counts fifteen NGOs, four of them departmental level — Les Amis de la Terre Val-d'Oise, Environnement 93, MNLE 93 et Val-d'Oise Environnement. As reported in Le Monde (2) this pharaonic complex which should be finished by 2024 would comprise an attractions park, green spaces, an aquatic park, a commercial centre, 2000 hotel rooms, an "urban farm", and even a snow park with a skiing facilities. This 3.1 billion project belongs to Immochan, a subsidiary of the distribution group Auchan, co-financed by the building giant Wanda. et cofinancé par le géant de l’immobilier chinois Wanda. The objective is to reach 31 million visitors per year. The destruction of agricultural area would be around 260 ha, equivalent to the 5th district of Paris (2). Environmental consequences will be groundwater loss and paving of the soil with cement.

Among the opposition, there is also the Confédération paysanne and the network of associations for peasant agriculture (AMAP) from Ile-de-France, the chain of supermarkets Biocoop, environmental groups, elected politicians from Seine-Saint-Denis, the Confederation of traders of France, and the Atelier citoyen of architects and urban planners. Minister Nicolas Hulot also criticized the project in July 2017. (2).

In favour of the project there is the major of Gonesse (from the Socialist Party), Jean-Pierre Blazy, who claims increased taxes of 40 million € and 10,000 new employments (2). The figure of 10.000 jobs comes from Arnaud Degorre, 2016-06-15 (3).
Project Area (in hectares)80
Level of Investment (in USD)3 800 000 000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/01/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesAuchan from France
Wanda from China
Relevant government actorsNicolas Hulot, ministre de la Transition Écologique

Major of Gonesse
Environmental justice organisations and other supportershttp://nonaeuropacity.com

Confédération paysanne

Biocoop

Atelier citoyen.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Other Environmental impacts, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherImpact on agricultural production.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherFarmers are going to lose a big chunk of land thatis used now for agriculture and food production. This region is providing in a huge quantity the food market of Rungis in paris. It can directly impact the food consumption of Paris.
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.In March 2018 the project is temporarily suspended by the administrative court. Likely that it will be cancelled.
Sources and Materials
Links

Website of the project
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(2) Le Monde. Six questions sur EuropaCity, le projet immobilier géant au nord de Paris. La justice a annulé mardi l’arrêté créant la zone d’aménagement concerté du triangle de Gonesse, ce qui pourrait compromettre le plus grand investissement privé en France depuis la construction de Disneyland Paris.
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(1) EuropaCity: la justice annule la création de la ZAC qui devait accueillir le mégacomplexe. Par LEXPRESS.fr avec AFP , 06/03/2018
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(3) Projet EuropaCity. Note d'analyse transversale des études d'impact économique. et de création d'emplois
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Media Links

Infos du GROUPE GPII sur la marche contre Europacity à Gonesse le 21 mai. Saviez-vous que le groupe de grande distribution Auchan, allié à un investisseur chinois, veut bétonner des terres agricoles à proximité de Paris pour en faire un centre commercial géant et un parc d’attractions climatisé. Son nom ? Europacity. Ce projet qui se présente comme une initiative entièrement privée, doit en réalité bénéficier d’un financement public de plus d’un milliard d’euros pour créer une gare... destinée à desservir ce seul site. Rassemblés avec le Collectif pour le Triangle de Gonesse (CPTG), des associations, des syndicats, des citoyens, indignés par ce gâchis et ce détournement d’argent public, lancent un appel à mobilisation.
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Le projet EuropaCity rassemble contre lui, des agriculteurs aux écologistes. 1 Dec. 2017. 150 personnalités, de l'altermondialiste Naomi Klein aux agriculteurs de la FNSEA, se mobilisent contre le projet de méga-centre commercial et de loisirs aux portes de Paris, porté par Auchan et l’investisseur chinois Wanda.
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Other Documents

Source: Thomas Samson, AFP
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Other Comments"6 March 2018. http://www.europacity.com/en/press/europacity-prend-acte-de-la-decision-du-tribunal-administratif-de-cergy-pontoise. EuropaCity prend acte de la décision du Tribunal Administratif de Cergy Pontoise de l’annulation de l’arrêté préfectoral de création de la ZAC du triangle de Gonesse pris par la préfecture du Val d’Oise. Cette étape administrative n’impacte pas la volonté des actionnaires de réaliser ce projet d’intérêt national créateur de plus de 10 000 emplois."
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Last update25/04/2018
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