Storm warning on the Catalan Pyrenees

The Peric seen from the iced Bolloses lake.
The Peric and the iced Bolloses lake in front.

Under the presumptuous and somewhat misleading wording of “Consolidation of major Catalan Pyrenees sites ” an irresponsible project with expected disastrous consequences is currently being pushed forth by elected representatives of the “Capcir Haut-Conflent” grouping of municipalities in an area located in the heart of the Regional Park of the Catalan Pyrenees.

The stated objective is to save a tourism economy, solely based on the ski industry, from a proclaimed bankruptcy. The white gold (which is essentially artificially produced) is acclaimed to be the only worthwhile resource to count on. The ambition is to give birth to the “largest ski area in the Pyrenees and to enter “into the top 20 French winter sports resorts” by “creating the best project from the customer point of view”. There is a will to “break away from an approach which has been insufficiently business oriented “. Such is the magic formula for economic success created by a Parisian Consulting Office invited at the bedside of the Pyrenean and Mediterranean resorts.

How will it be done.

By merging four stations: Font-Romeu, Bolquere Pyrenees 2000, Les Angles and Formigueres, through unifying, extending and connecting their ski areas. These measures are a flagrant denunciation of the NRP charter unanimously adopted two years earlier by the same bunch of people.

How much will it cost to the tax payers

For an estimated EUR 100+ million the project is based on the creation of 45km of new tracks requiring 9 km of new transportation equipment involving earthworks, pylons installation, overhead cables; snow factories implantation with cannons and pipes for artificial snow production, and a phenomenal pressure increase on water resources at prohibitive costs …

Increasing pressure on wild natural areas

The icing on the cake is the proposal of a new cog railway (! re-using some equipment from the ageless Rhune 64- a touristic train). It is expected to replace the current road access, a well controlled summer service shuttle to access the Bouillouses site perched at 2000 meters. This proposal is falsely presented as an environmental friendly alternative, a sort of “Change of Approach”, except that it will actually be an additional access as the existing road will remain essential for traditional users: farmers, foresters, hoteliers, fishermen … this service will amount to a doubling of the access ways and will make it easier to access the natural site thus leading to mass consumption type of overcrowding.

While the 2020 climate scenarios forecast (4 years!) a 35% snow reduction with the snow duration shorten by 25% over the Pyrenees this flight forward strategy poses a major ecological threat to this high quality environmental area  with a disruption or destruction of one of the last natural areas somehow preserved from the ski areas grip already sprawling.

 

A heart for the mountain wilderness!

(AG, BM)

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