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justice authorizes the resumption of construction work on a training pool in Aubervilliers

The legal and political standoff around the future Aubervilliers aquatic complex continues. The Paris administrative court of appeal lifted, on Tuesday, November 23, the suspension of the building permit for a training pool for the Olympic Games (Olympics) in Paris in 2024 in this city of Seine-Saint-Denis.

“The summary judge granted the request of the municipality of Aubervilliers and lifted the effects of the suspension he ordered on September 20, as well as the injunction to end the work concerned. The work of the aquatic center can therefore legally resume, at this stage of the litigation procedure ”, who is due to be tried on the merits in December, the court said in a statement.

Amending project

The City did not take the risk of waiting for the hearing on the merits to change its course. After the suspension of work at the end of September, she proposed an amending building permit and changes in the project, starting with the removal of a restaurant annexed to the swimming pool, in favor of a « Fitness and well-being space ». Training pool for athletes during the Olympics, the swimming pool must then be accessible to the inhabitants of this popular city, in a department where 60% of children cannot swim when they enter sixth grade, in particular for lack of sufficient infrastructure.

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In its ordinance consulted by Agence France-Presse, this court, competent in litigation related to the Olympic Games, considered that the City had « Regularized » the points which had initially led to the suspension of the site: the legality of the building permit, compensations in terms of town planning (tree planting in particular) and above all the presence of the restaurant.

« I welcome the decision of the summary judge who took into consideration the seriousness of our case that we have changed compared to the initial project put together by the previous majority », declared the mayor (UDI), Karine Franclet, « Convinced of the need » of the swimming pool.

Destruction of allotment garden plots

These changes are still considered insufficient by the two associations for the defense of the environment and the three gardeners at the initiative of the emergency procedure against the project, which involves the destruction of approximately 4,000 m2 plots of allotment gardens a hundred years old.

The majority of the gardeners concerned were relocated to other neighboring plots by Grand Paris Aménagement, owner of the land. Not enough to calm the anger of opponents, who denounce the artificialization of soils in an already densely populated area. They are asking for a complete overhaul of the project, the solarium of which encroaches on the vegetable gardens. The green light granted to the site « Is the demonstration that Olympic law, which is above all else, sacrifices the quality of life of the populations concerned », deplores Jean-Marie Baty, president of MNLE 93 (National Movement for the Fight for the Environment).

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Legal hazards have other consequences: to be stamped an Olympic book, it must fit into the already tight schedule, otherwise it will be impossible for it to claim subsidies from the Solideo (the company responsible for delivering the books for JO 2024), which must pay a third of the 33 million euros needed for its construction.

For its part, the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee (OCOG) is proceeding cautiously in this matter, ensuring that the swimming pool will be used if it is ready. Otherwise, another solution would be found, he says. In March, the Noisy-le-Sec Olympic swimming pool project was abandoned, immediately replaced by the Montreuil swimming pool as a training site.

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