Poterie Riposte, association Contre un nouveau centre commercial géant à Ferney-Voltaire (association Against a New Huge Shopping Mall in Ferney-Voltaire) has launched the petition below, addressed to Patrice Dunand, President of the Communauté d’Agglomération du Pays de Gex (Gex local government) and Mayor of Gex, and to twelve other recipients.
Against a new huge shopping mall in Ferney-Voltaire
In the context of the Zone d’aménagement concerté Ferney-Genève-Innovation (Ferney-Geneva-Innovation joint development zone), elected representatives at the Communauté d’Agglomération du pays de Gex (Gex local government) have approved the project for construction of a huge shopping mall (the size of the Balexert-Geneva complex) at the entrance to Ferney-Voltaire, in “La Poterie” neighbourhood.
The project includes:
- 63 000 m2 of floor space
- 34 571 m2 of shops, with 130 stores
- 4729 m2 of food halls, with take-aways and 19 restaurants
- 3943 m2 of cinema
- 3694 m2 of “cultural industries”
- 1600 underground parking places on 3 floors
- 2 buildings 25 meters high; 1 building 32 meters high.
Residents were invited to give their views on the impact study carried out in order to grant the building permit for the shopping and leisure centre. All views were negative. Hundreds of signatures against the project have already been transmitted to Daniel Raphoz, Mayor of Ferney-Voltaire, which did not stop him from signing the building permit in July 2020.
The impact study states that this centre is “an opportunity for the town to plan urban growth and renovation that meets the needs of its current and future population”.
The Gex area is one of the places in France with the highest concentration of shopping malls (Val-Thoiry, Espace Candide, the future mall in St-Genis-Pouilly …), not to mention the Balexert-Geneva complex, less than 6 kms from Ferney, as well as numerous hypermarkets.
No population survey has ever indicated a lack of or need for another shopping mall
An outdated model of consumption
On the contrary, as in the rest of France, people are tired of this kind of consumption. Everywhere, these giant complexes and their huge parking areas, intended to promote unlimited consumption, are in decline. In Ferney, for instance, the Espace Candide, built just five years ago and six times smaller than the Poterie mall would be, is empty. There are so few customers that shop owners get together to pay one salesperson for two shops. There is a growing interest in smaller, local shops, in line with awareness of the urgent need for measures to protect the environment.
Traffic problems in the Gex area, especially in Ferney
Traffic in Ferney and the Gex area in general has become a serious issue. Residents cross the various customs points by their tens of thousands a day, in one direction or the other. Considering that Balexert draws nearly 8 million visitors a year, even if the Ferney project attracted half the number, how will the extra thousands of visitors a day be able to drive round?
Does neighbouring Switzerland really intend to finance a tram line that will help to empty Balexert of its customers?
The impact study for the mall project showed how cars would access the 1600 parking places once they arrive in Ferney-Voltaire, but how will they get there? In fact, Ferney is a funnel whose main conduit is the tunnel under the airport. There are no plans to widen it. Roads to the north and west of Ferney are always blocked with traffic.
Geneva airport causes both heavy air and sound pollution. So do cars.
Can the residents of Ferney and its surroundings really remain indifferent to the harmful effects of such a colossal influx of additional vehicles?
Death of down-town Ferney
Studies show that this kind of shopping mall, located on the edge of town, saps the life out of the centre. Shops in down-town Ferney will not survive if the mall is built. A new set of signs to attract people to the centre, or a shuttle planned to take them there from the mall, are no more than a bandage on gangrene.
Shopping malls, far from helping people to socialize, isolate and separate them
We are not fooled by the cultural proposals in the project.
The survival of our cinema is essential. In no way is it linked to a huge shopping mall. There are other options.
A branch of the Pompidou Centre and a science world would be housed in the mall. They are termed “cultural industries”, which defines them exactly. They are not intended to meet a visitor’s expectation of an artistic or varied view of the world, but rather to turn art into merchandise and the visitor into an inveterate consumer.
Whereas we increasingly look for places in which to enjoy social life and interaction, this mall destroys any likelihood.
We know that our style of industrialized consumption depletes natural resources and destroys biodiversity, impoverishing other parts of the world. It is time to recognize how destructive it is and to refuse what is no more than forward flight.
We want a harmonious development for our town; a town that is alive, welcoming and ambitious; a town where people can exchange ideas. A town that lives up to the ideals of the renowned French philosopher who made it his home.
We want to live in Ferney-Voltaire, not Ferney-Consumerism
Collegiate management, Anne Durand, Christine Verschuur, Marie-José Bofill