scorecardLuxury “floating” beach unveiled in France; Critics term it an “ecological aberration”
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Luxury “floating” beach unveiled in France; Critics term it an “ecological aberration”

Luxury “floating” beach unveiled in France; Critics term it an “ecological aberration”
SustainabilitySustainability2 min read
We hear of boastful wealthy folk owning private islands all the time. But have you heard of any building one? Much less, a floating one?

In a move stirring both intrigue and ire, the luxurious floating beach ‘Canua Island’ has been officially inaugurated off the French Riviera, a highly developed section of the Mediterranean coastline in Southeast France frequently peppered by the ultra-rich. This move came despite fervent opposition from environmental advocates and local politicians.

However, if you’re thinking of a traditional sandy beach here, sadly, you’d be wrong. Canua is actually a 1,750 square-meter motorised platform set on top of a two-storey trimaran yacht. The luxury “island” features a restaurant, bar lounge, and freshwater swimming pool. Crafted at a cost of 16 million Euros, the boat is designed to host up to 350 guests and promises a lavish retreat just 600 meters from the coastline. However, its journey from concept to realisation has been anything but smooth sailing.

Environmental concerns and political pushback

Critics have been vociferous in their condemnation of Canua Island, labeling it an "ecological aberration." For years, environmental groups have argued that the Riviera’s marine life and pristine coastline are already overburdened by development and tourism. The floating beach represents, in their view, a blatant disregard for conservation efforts in the area.

Local political dynamics further complicate the narrative. Initially, only a single local commune supported the project, while broader regional authorities opposed it. However, on Friday, a member of President Emmanuel Macron's ruling party joined a chorus of dissent when around 20 mayors, including those of significant French cities such as Nice and Toulon, penned a letter condemning "this commercial exploitation of the marine environment."

Legal battles and sustainability claims

Despite these hurdles, the owners of Canua Island triumphed in a legal battle, securing the necessary permits to launch their floating haven. They assert that the platform is designed with sustainability in mind, featuring engines powered by biofuel, a desalination system to produce freshwater, and comprehensive waste recycling protocols managed on land. These measures, they argue, mitigate the environmental impact, aligning the project with contemporary ecological standards.

Given the heated controversy, Canua Island will not open to the public this season. Instead, it will function as an exclusive venue for private events, such as weddings. The platform has already garnered considerable interest, with around 30 booking requests. Whether it will become a cherished retreat or a cautionary tale remains to be seen.