The Ile de Cannes, a 1,750-square-meter (18,800-square-foot) motorized rig with a restaurant, lounge bar and swimming pool, was moored at La Seine-sur-Mer in southeastern France while its owners waited for permits.
“It has been made clear to us that we should not wait until the summer,” the project’s founders said in a statement claiming they were “victims of a political vendetta.”
With a capacity of 350, the pavilion is designed as a new outdoor entertaining space for wealthy vacationers, with backers like former Olympian yachtsman Marc Audino and surfer Tony Philp.
The project had the support of one of the local authorities in the region, Mandelieu-La Napoule, where he intended to consolidate it, but was challenged by the president of the greater Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, Renaud Muselier, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party.
The owners were told on Monday that the government had refused work permits, said project leader Jean-Bernard Falco, and said 100 jobs and an investment worth 16 million euros were now at risk.
Environmental groups have long campaigned for greater protection of marine life and coastline on the highly developed French Riviera, long considered a playground for the rich and famous.
– environment manager –
France’s sea ministry said it opposed the island project on environmental grounds.
“The government’s position is that the development of an artificial island is not compatible with the need to strengthen the protection of the marine environment,” the marine ministry told AFP on Monday.
The ministry explained that the new legislation aimed at accelerating the development of renewable energy strictly regulates the installation of floating infrastructure at sea.
In addition, the project was proposed for an “already highly urbanized” coast and in a sea “suffering from pollution”.
Kanawa’s supporters say “no ship in the Mediterranean today is as responsible to the environment” as their floating island, which plans to reclaim sewage and use biofuels made from coconut oil.
They noted that the public innovation bank Bpifrance and the local authorities supported their business venture.
“At no time in the seven years since we embarked on this adventure have those who have opposed us since April expressed any doubt or opposition,” their press release read.