France is the second-most visited country in the world, after the UK, but for those who want to see the country’s coastline and be among the first to experience the French Riviera, the French sailing boat trade has come under fire.
The country’s leading sailing company, Suntory, has been in a legal battle with a local sailing school over a proposed expansion in the port of Bordeaux.
The controversial project has been under fire by locals who say it is detrimental to the environment, while the government is fighting to stop it from going ahead.
French media have reported that Suntry is planning to expand a sailing school to offer courses for those interested in learning to sail, and that the firm is in negotiations with the local council over the future of the school.
However, Sintory said the expansion was in the best interests of the business, adding that the company would not “impede” the work of the local community.
Suntory said that its proposed expansion is necessary to “enhance the business of our customers and to ensure the viability of the company”.
A local school, known as the La Ville de Bordeau, was created in the 1960s and has been around for almost 70 years.
It is known for its spectacular views of the Seine River and its many marinas and resorts.
However Suntoy is currently under fire from the local fishing community, who say the expansion is damaging the region’s economy and will lead to increased pollution.
“The current situation in Bordeaud is not sustainable,” local fisherman Sebastien Le Blanc told Le Parisien newspaper.
“This expansion is an example of the destruction of the ecosystem and its fish.”
“We want to keep the fishermen alive,” he said.
“We’re not going to leave the boat behind, but we want to learn the trade and do something with our lives.”
Suntoy has denied the company has any involvement in the proposal.
The company’s lawyer has told local media that Sintoy is not opposed to the development, and has expressed concerns that the proposed expansion could have an adverse impact on local fisheries.
In its response to local newspaper La Voix du Nord, Siltry said that it was not “a supporter of any expansion”.
“Suntormane has the right to decide the future direction of its project, as well as the location of its school,” the statement said.
“Suntrorie, however, does not oppose any expansion whatsoever.”
However, local fishermen have slammed the company, with many describing it as “unethical” and “criminal”.
“If you want to live in a city with a large number of fishing boats and to live close to the coast, this is not the best way,” said Le Blanc.
“There are better ways to do it.”