The Council of State rejected Tuesday, October 3, the appeals of the municipality of La Clusaz (Haute-Savoie) and the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion concerning a controversial water retention project to supply the ski resort, including artificial snow. The town hall and the ministry challenged the suspension of the environmental authorization granted by the prefect of Haute-Savoie, which allowed the start of work. This judgment was rendered on October 25, 2022 by the Administrative Court of Grenoble, seized in summary proceedings by several environmental protection associations.
The decision of the Council of State, of which AFP has obtained a copy, "does not constitute a substantive decision on the validity of the project itself," responded Tuesday the mayor Didier Thévenet. The project is currently suspended, the municipal council of La Clusaz having voted on August 17 a moratorium, pending a final decision, which could take several years.
A reserve of 148,000 m³
The Colombière hill reservoir project, in the Aravis massif, provides for the construction of a reserve of 148,000 m³, two-thirds of which will be used for artificial snowmaking on ski slopes and the rest for drinking water. Valued at 10 million euros, it is considered necessary by the municipality to meet water needs and strengthen the snow cover of the resort in a context of global warming.
The opponents, who had occupied the Bois de la Colombière in the fall of 2022 to prevent the start of the work, denounce for their part an attack on the natural environment and the species present on the site, but also a water grabbing and a headlong rush concerning the artificial snow cover of the ski area.